Although urinary tract infections (UTIs) are much more common among women, older men who develop the condition are more likely to be hospitalised as a result, researchers have found.
In addition, the urologists from Henry Ford Hospital pointed out that health care costs are 10 times higher when patients with UTIs need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. They concluded that being able to predict which patients are most likely to be hospitalised could reduce these medical expenses.
"We found that those patients who were hospitalised for treatment of urinary tract infections were most often older men, as well as those with serious kidney infections. They were also more likely to be seen at urban teaching hospitals, and/or treated in ZIP codes with higher median incomes," the study's lead author, Dr Jesse Sammon, a researcher at Henry Ford's Vattikuti Urology Institute, said in a hospital news release.
"Managing these high-risk patients more aggressively in the outpatient setting may prevent unnecessary hospitalisations and reduce associated health care costs," Sammon added.
Emergency room admissions
The study involved 10.8 million patients diagnosed with a UTI, specifically a bladder infection, a kidney infection, or both of these patients who were seen in US emergency rooms from 2006 to 2009, nearly 17% were admitted to the hospital for treatment.
"Over the current study period, 2006 to 2009, there was an average of 2.7 million emergency department visits each year for UTI, leading to 450 136 admissions," noted Sammon. The researchers pointed out just 10 years earlier, UTIs accounted for fewer than one million ER visits. "This rapid rise has exceeded all previous estimates," Sammon added. "This translated into a direct cost of $1.6 billion per year to the US health care system."
UTIs are particularly common among young women, the study authors noted. "By age 32, half of women report having had at least one," Sammon pointed out. "For men and women, the incidence of going to the emergency department with a UTI was highest among the elderly, yet women saw a 'peak' in such cases between age 15 and 25, corresponding to the onset of sexual activity."
Men, however, were most likely to require hospitalisation due to a urinary tract infection. Older men and those with acute kidney infections that needed IV antibiotics were at greatest risk.
Although the ageing US population played a role in the increase in hospitalisation rates for urinary tract infections, the study revealed higher rates of diabetes and other conditions, as well as resistance to antibiotics, were also factors that contributed to the trend.
The study was published online and in the September issue of World Journal of Urology.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about urinary tract infections.
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