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World Journal of Emergency Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (2): 99-104.doi: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2021.02.003

• Original Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Role of urine studies in asymptomatic febrile neutropenic patients presenting to the emergency department

Hady Zgheib1, Aline El Zakhem2, Cynthia Wakil1, Mohamad Ali Cheaito1, Rola Cheaito1, Antoine Finianos2, Ralphe Bou Chebl1, Rima Kaddoura1, Nader Al Souky1, Imad El Majzoub1()   

  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut 11-0236, Lebanon
    2 Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut 11-0236, Lebanon
  • Received:2020-02-12 Revised:2020-10-20 Online:2021-04-01 Published:2021-04-01
  • Contact: Imad El Majzoub


BACKGROUND: The role of urine studies in the detection of urinary tract infection (UTI) in febrile neutropenic patients with urinary symptoms (having a urinary catheter or having a positive urine analysis) is inarguable. However, the evidence is scarce regarding the indication for urine studies in asymptomatic (i.e., without urinary symptoms) patients with febrile neutropenia (FN) presenting to the emergency department (ED). The aim of this study is to evaluate the need for obtaining urine studies in asymptomatic febrile neutropenic patients.

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study conducted on adult cancer patients who presented to the ED with FN and had no urinary symptoms. We included all ED presentations of eligible patients between January 2013 and September 2018. Student’s t-test and Wilcoxon rank-sum test were used for continuous data, while Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used for categorical data. Participants were divided into two groups based on their urine culture (UC) results: negative and positive UCs. Two cut-offs were used for positive UC results: ≥10 5 cfu/mL and ≥10 4 cfu/mL.

RESULTS: We included 284 patients in our study. The age of our patient population was 48.5±18.5 years. More than two-thirds (68.7%) of patients had severe neutropenia, while only 3.9% and 9.9% of the patients had positive UCs at ≥10 5 cfu/mL and ≥10 4 cfu/mL, respectively. UCs were expectedly positive in most patients with urinalysis (UA) abnormalities. However, 27.3% and 32.1% of patients with positive UCs at ≥10 5 cfu/mL and ≥10 4 cfu/mL respectively had a normal UA.

CONCLUSIONS: In our study, the incidence of UTI in adult febrile neutropenic cancer patients who present to the ED without urinary symptoms is low. Consequently, routine urine testing may not be warranted in this population, as it adds unnecessary financial burdens on the patients and delays timely management.

Key words: Adult, Cancer, Emergency department, Febrile neutropenia, Urine testing