- PURPOSE: The use of antibiotic prophylaxis for preventing urinary tract infections has recently been called into question. Some studies support discontinuation of antibiotic prophylaxis in selected groups of children with vesicoureteral reflux. We report on the outcome of this practice in a cohort of patients assembled based on initial presentation with a febrile urinary tract infection. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed records of patients with persistent vesicoureteral reflux without symptoms suggestive of dysfunctional elimination who discontinued antibiotic prophylaxis after being toilet trained. Exclusion criteria consisted of secondary reflux and previous surgery for vesicoureteral reflux. End points included development of febrile urinary tract infections, renal abnormalities on followup ultrasound and need for further interventions. Infection-free survival was analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log rank and Cox's tests. RESULTS: We evaluated 84 girls and 26 boys with a mean age of 5.4 years. Febrile urinary tract infections developed in 10 girls and 1 boy at an average of 17.2 months after discontinuation of antibiotic prophylaxis. In a time to event analysis group comparison showed no significant differences when patients were stratified by gender (p = 0.22), age at antibiotic prophylaxis discontinuation (p = 0.14) or disease laterality (p = 0.23). However, a significant difference was found in number of patients with high grade vesicoureteral reflux (III to V, p = 0.05) and development of symptoms suggestive of bladder/bowel dysfunction (p <0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Our data support antibiotic prophylaxis discontinuation in the majority of patients with persistent vesicoureteral reflux who initially present with a febrile urinary tract infection, once their elimination habits have been optimized. Those with high grade reflux appear to be at increased risk for recurrent urinary tract infections. Development of dysfunctional elimination symptoms appears to be a risk factor amenable to treatment.