Acting fast may help prevent kidney damage caused by UTIs

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common serious bacterial infections in vaccinated children.1
  • A study found that delaying treatment for UTIs could increase the risk of permanent kidney scarring in young children.2
  • UTI are treatable, and should be diagnosed before treatment.3

In a review article, UTIs were cited as one of the most common serious bacterial infections in vaccinated children.1

When treatments for UTIs are delayed by as little as 2 days, the risk for permanent kidney damage in children with fevers could go up by as much as 47% – as reported in a study published in JAMA Pediatrics by Dr. Shaikh and colleagues.2

The study also found that:

  • For each hour treatments were delayed, the risk of permanent kidney damage went up by 8%.
  • This means that delaying treatment for one day could increase their risk of permanent kidney damage by almost 2-fold.
  • The risk of permanent kidney damage due to delayed treatments were particularly high for Hispanic children: 5.2-fold greater risk vs. non-Hispanic children.

Data for this study were collected from nearly 500 children 2 months to 6 years old. All the children enrolled had a fever >38°C (100.4°F), and were diagnosed with UTI for the first or second time in their lives.2

Bottom line

  • Think about UTIs when your child has an unexplained fever. The damage caused by an untreated UTI can stay with them for life.
  • If they are vaccinated, think about UTI as a possible cause of their fever and ask their doctor or nurse about it.
  • UTIs can be diagnosed with a urinalysis and urine culture before treatment.3

Source study: Shaikh N, et al. JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 25, 2016. A paid subscription may be required.

Reference: 1. Cioffredi L and Jhaveri R. JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 20, 2016. 2. Shaikh N, et al. JAMA Pediatr. Published online July 25, 2016. 3. Roberts KB, et al. Pediatrics 2011;128(3):595-610.

Photo adapted from original by John Voo, used under license.

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