Background

An uncomplicated urinary tract infection is defined as an infection of the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys in a person who has an anatomically normal urinary tract with normal urinary function. The majority of UTIs involve the bladder and are classified as ‘uncomplicated.’ Once the infection ascends to the kidneys, the infection is then classified as ‘complicated.’ For patients with recent instrumentation, anatomically altered urinary tracts, or with known kidney disease, UTIs are termed ‘complicated’ as there is a high risk of kidney damage and septicemia if left untreated.  

In 2007, UTIs were shown to be the most common bacterial infection encountered in ambulatory settings.1  The overall yearly cost associated with UTI evaluation and treatment in the U.S. is approximately 2.14 billion dollars as an estimated 9 million women seek treatment for a UTI annually. 2,4  One in three women will develop a UTI requiring antibiotics by age 24, and half of all women experience at least one UTI in their lifetime.2   Furthermore, UTIs were the most common primary diagnosis for women visiting the emergency department.4  As the cost of care multiplies in the emergency department setting, adequately identifying and treating these patients in the outpatient setting may present an opportunity for significant cost-savings to the healthcare system and decreased dependence on over-burdened emergency departments. 

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