What is the role of dipstick testing in the diagnosis of urinary tract infection (UTI) during pregnancy?

Updated: Oct 08, 2019
  • Author: Raisa O Platte, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Several reports describe the use of urine dip for nitrites and leukocyte esterase in the evaluation of asymptomatic bacteriuria. In comparison with culture, sensitivity ranges from 50% to 92% and specificity from 86% to 97%.

In the evaluation of symptomatic patients, dipstick testing is useful and inexpensive. However, the leukocyte esterase test may be unreliable in patients with low-level pyuria (5-20 WBCs/HPF). The addition of protein and blood increases the sensitivity and specificity of the test in the evaluation of UTI.

As suggested by Kodikara et al, nitrite dipstick testing may be a reasonable and cost-effective screening strategy for women who otherwise may not undergo screening for bacteriuria, as is often the case in developing countries. [23]

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