Point-of-care urine culture for managing urinary tract infection in primary care: a randomised controlled trial of clinical and cost-effectiveness
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BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of using point-of-care (POC) urine culture in primary care on appropriate antibiotic use is unknown. AIM: To assess whether use of the Flexicult™ SSI-Urinary Kit, which quantifies bacterial growth and determines antibiotic susceptibility at the point of care, achieves antibiotic use that is more often concordant with laboratory culture results, when compared with standard care. DESIGN AND SETTING: Individually randomised trial of females with uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) in primary care research networks (PCRNs) in England, the Netherlands, Spain, and Wales. METHOD: Multilevel regression compared outcomes between the two groups while controlling for clustering. RESULTS: In total, 329 participants were randomised to POC testing (POCT) and 325 to standard care, and 324 and 319 analysed. Fewer females randomised to the POCT arm than those who received standard care were prescribed antibiotics at the initial consultation (267/324 [82.4%] versus 282/319 [88.4%], odds ratio [OR] 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35 to 0.88). Clinicians indicated the POCT result changed their management for 190/301 (63.1%). Despite this, there was no statistically significant difference between study arms in antibiotic use that was concordant with laboratory culture results (primary outcome) at day 3 (39.3% POCT versus 44.1% standard care, OR 0.84, 95% CI = 0.58 to 1.20), and there was no evidence of any differences in recovery, patient enablement, UTI recurrences, re-consultation, antibiotic resistance, and hospitalisations at follow-up. POCT culture was not cost-effective. CONCLUSION: Point-of-care urine culture was not effective when used mainly to adjust immediate antibiotic prescriptions. Further research should evaluate use of the test to guide initiation of 'delayed antibiotics'.
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