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BackgroundAccurate diagnosis of urinary tract infection is essential as children left untreated may suffer permanent renal injury.AimTo compare the diagnostic values of biomarkers or clinical prediction rules for urinary tract infections in children presenting to ambulatory care.Design and settingSystematic review and meta-analysis of ambulatory care studies.MethodsMedline, Embase, WOS, CINAHL, Cochrane library, HTA and DARE were searched until 21 May 2021. We included diagnostic studies on urine or blood biomarkers for cystitis or pyelonephritis in children below 18 years of age. We calculated sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios. Data were pooled using a bivariate random effects model and a Hierarchical Summary Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis.ResultsSeventy-five moderate to high quality studies were included in this review and 54 articles in the meta-analyses. The area under the receiver-operating-characteristics curve to diagnose cystitis was 0.75 (95%CI 0.62 to 0.83, n = 9) for C-reactive protein, 0.71 (95% CI 0.62 to 0.80, n = 4) for procalcitonin, 0.93 (95% CI 0.91 to 0.96, n = 22) for the dipstick test (nitrite or leukocyte esterase ≥trace), 0.94 (95% CI 0.58 to 0.98, n = 9) for urine white blood cells and 0.98 (95% CI 0.92 to 0.99, n = 12) for Gram-stained bacteria. For pyelonephritis, C-reactive protein ConclusionsClinical prediction rules including the dipstick test biomarkers can support family physicians while awaiting urine culture results. CRP and PCT have low accuracy for cystitis, but might be useful for pyelonephritis.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC family practice

Publication Date





EPI-Centre, Academic Centre for General Practice, KU Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 7, 3000, Leuven, Belgium.