Questioning accepted wisdom about urine sampling

Linda Collins our own Lecturer and PhD candidate was the speaker at our second seminar yesterday. Her research suggests that conventional ideas about testing urine for infections may need to change. She argued that what is often thought by testing labs to be ‘contamination’ of urine samples is in fact a sign of bladder infection, in the form of cells from the walls of an infected bladder. Here’s her abstract.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a debilitating condition and is a leading reason for treatment in the primary healthcare sector. Women are more affected than men and it is estimated 50% of the UK female population would have experienced a UTI in their life time with subsequent recurrences.
Diagnosis of a UTI is reliant upon a positive urine test result when a specimen is sent for microbiological testing. However, it is often reported that a urine specimen is contaminated with cells and sediments which leads to inconclusive results and ultimately a missed diagnosis. Urine specimen collection and microbiological testing is the crucial initial stage of the diagnostic process.
An advanced cell staining technique (Uroplakin-3 staining) has proven that cells found in the urine are not contaminants, but are urothelial cells that have shed into the urine during the inflammatory stages of an infection, and reveal important pathology of a UTI.

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