Children’s Hospital Research Achieves Breakthrough in UTI Prevention

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New findings by researchers including Dr. Tej K. Mattoo, chief of pediatric nephrology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, may help prevent painful urinary tract infections in young children.

“This is the kind of breakthrough that has the potential to spare millions of children — and their long suffering parents — from the discomfort and anxiety caused by frequent urinary tract infections,” says Larry Gold, CEO of Children’s Hospital.

More than 3 percent of American children develop UTIs each year, accounting for more than 1 million visits to pediatricians annually, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of those children, about one-third are diagnosed with vesicoureteral reflux, a urinary-tract abnormality which increases the risk of UTIs and renal scarring.

The study, which analyzed data collected at nearly 20 different sites around the country over six years, found that children with vesicoureteral reflux are 50 percent less likely to develop frequent UTIs when treated with long-term, low-dose antibiotics.

“We know that UTIs can be a significant health problem for kids because of the medical complications that often accompany them,” says Mattoo, a pediatrics professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. “Such recurring infections can also cause significant discomfort for affected children, along with frequent visits to emergency rooms, which add to the already soaring cost of medical care.”

The results of the study were also presented this week at the Pediatric Academic Societies Congress in Vancouver, Canada, where Mattoo outlined the potential impact of the study on the current guidelines for the management of urinary tract infection and vesicoureteral reflux in children.

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