Urinary Tract Infection and Asymptomatic Bacteriuria in Older Adults

Nicolas W. Cortes-Penfield, Barbara W. Trautner, Robin L.P. Jump

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a significant cause of morbidity among older adults. However, antibiotic prescriptions for clinically suspected UTIs are often inappropriate. Health care providers frequently struggle to differentiate UTI from asymptomatic bacteriuria, particularly in patients presenting with nonspecific symptoms. Patients with baseline cognitive impairments that limit history-taking can be particularly challenging. This article reviews the epidemiology and pathogenesis of UTI in older adults. It discusses an approach to diagnosis and treatment focused on recognizing patients who would likely benefit from antibiotic treatment and on identifying patients for whom empiric antibiotic therapy should not be given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-688
Number of pages16
JournalInfectious disease clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Asymptomatic bacteriuria
  • Older adults
  • Urinary tract infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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