Less than half of women who leave an emergency room (ER) with a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection (UTI) had one, and 37% of women go home with a missed sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 

Senior author Michelle T. Hecker, MD, and fellow investigators studied a cohort of 264 women who presented to an urban academic ER with genitourinary (GU) symptoms or received a diagnosis of GU infections over a period of two months. 

Providers gave 175 (66%) of these women a diagnosis of UTI, 100 (57%) of whom were treated without performing a urine culture. The investigators found that 84 (48%) of these women had a true positive urine culture. 

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Of the women studied, 60 (23%) had one or more positive STI tests, 22 (37%) of whom did not receive treatment for an STI within seven days of the ER visit. Of the women who had a positive STI test, 14 (64%) of these 22 women were diagnosed with a UTI instead of a STI. 


1. Tomas ME, et al. J Clin Microbiol. 2015; doi:10.1128/JCM.00670-15

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor