High Diagnostic Accuracy of Nitrite Test Paired with Urine Sediment can Reduce Unnecessary Antibiotic Therapy

Sven A. Ferry1, *, Stig E. Holm2, B. Magnus Ferry3, Tor J. Monsen1
1 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Bacteriology, Umea University, Umea, Sweden
2 Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
3 Department of Education, Umea University, Umea, Sweden

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 6102
Abstract HTML Views: 2737
PDF Downloads: 908
Total Views/Downloads: 9747
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 2959
Abstract HTML Views: 1575
PDF Downloads: 626
Total Views/Downloads: 5160

Creative Commons License
© Joy and Balaji; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the (, which permits unrestricted, noncommercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital of Umea, SE-90185 Umea, Sweden; Tel: +46705782019; Fax: + 4690131802; E-mail:



Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections dominated by lower UTI in women (LUTIW). Symptoms only are insufficient for diagnosis and accordingly, near patient diagnostic tests confidently confirming significant bacteriuria are desirable. The nitrite test (NIT) has low sensitivity, while bacterial and leukocyte counts disjunctively paired in urine sediment microscopy (SED) have high sensitivity. Similar symptomatic cure rates are found post antibiotic vs. placebo therapy in patients with negative cultures. Consequently, prescription on symptoms only implies unnecessary antibiotic therapy.


to evaluate the diagnostic outcomes of NIT, SED and NIT disjunctively paired with SED (NIT+SED) vs. urine culture, with special focus on bladder incubation time (BIT), and to assess if NIT+SED can reduce unnecessary antibiotic therapy.


A diagnostic, primary care, multicentre study including 1070 women with symptoms suggestive of lower UTI.


Significant bacteriuria was found in 77%. The BIT highly influenced the diagnostic outcomes and the optimal duration was 􀀂4h with sensitivity of 66, 90 and 95% for NIT, SED and NIT+SED, respectively. SED performed only in NIT negative specimens could reduce unnecessary antibiotics by 10% vs. prescription on symptoms only. The number needed to test with SED to reduce one unnecessary antibiotic course was five patients at BIT ≥4h and six patients at ≤3h or overall.


The BIT highly influences the diagnostic outcomes with the highest accuracy of NIT+SED. Diagnosis of LUTIW with NIT+SED can reduce unnecessary antibiotic therapy and subsequently decrease antimicrobial resistance.

Trial registration:

The Swedish Medical Product Agency 1995 03 01:151:01783/94.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance, bacteria, bladder incubation time, diagnosis, dipstick test, leukocytes, primary care, urinary tract infection.