Voiding cystourethrograms and urinary tract infections: how long to wait?

A. McDonald, M. Scranton, R. Gillespie, V. Mahajan, G. A. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Many authorities recommend an interval of at least 3 to 6 weeks after a urinary tract infection (UTI) before performing a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG). However, such an interval may reduce the likelihood of completing the procedure. This study was performed to investigate whether the length of the interval between a UTI and the performance of the VCUG influences the presence or severity of reflux, and whether it influences the likelihood of actually having the study performed. DESIGN: We reviewed 352 admissions of children under 10 years old whose discharge diagnoses indicated UTIs. These admissions occurred over a 27-month period between October 1994 and December 1996 at the Children's Hospital of Austin, Texas. We identified 213 patients with confirmed UTIs and no other previously defined urinary tract pathology. These patients were divided into 2 groups according to whether they had a VCUG scheduled to be performed either within 1 week after the diagnosis of a UTI (the early group), or later than 1 week after the diagnosis (the late group). We compared the presence and severity of reflux in the 2 groups as well as the proportion of scheduled VCUGs that were actually performed. RESULTS: Reflux was present in 19% of the patients studied within 1 week after UTI (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.9-26.4) and in 18% of those studied after 1 week (95% CI: 6. 7-34.5). This difference was not statistically significant (chi(2) =. 034; DF = 1). However there was a substantial difference between the 2 groups with regard to the number of scheduled VCUGs actually performed. Whereas 100% of the scheduled VCUGs in the early group were performed, only 48% (95% CI: 35.9-60.1) of those scheduled in the late group were performed. This difference is statistically significant (chi(2) = 89.6; DF = 1). CONCLUSIONS: In the hospitalized children who underwent VCUGs within a week after diagnosis of UTI, the presence of reflux is not significantly different from those studied later. Furthermore, late scheduling of VCUGs resulted in failure to perform the procedure in more than half of the patients. Some of the patients who were not evaluated would be expected to have vesicoureteral reflux and thus be at risk for chronic renal disease. Therefore, the traditional recommendation to perform the VCUG at 3 to 6 weeks after the diagnosis of UTI should be reconsidered, especially for hospitalized children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E50
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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