Best Practices for UTI Detection – PCR Test vs. Urine Culture

While Urine culture has been the gold standard for years, PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) and NGS (Next Gen Sequencing) have now become the “Go-to” diagnostic tools and platforms for both identification of infected pathogens and identification of “right time” antibiotics.

Why is PCR a better choice?

  1. Speed – Infection pathogen detection can be completed in a matter of hours, often with same-day results
  2. Sensitivity and specificity of identification and quantification of infections and pathogens
  3. Urine culture has low sensitivity in the diagnosis of urinary tract infection (UTI).
  4. PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) is a culture-independent molecular method and is available for commercial use. It has become the preferred method to diagnose UTI. The availability of PCR is far more common now than in years past and expense of instrumentation has come down.
  5. Many doctors and hospitals would concur there is no better or more accurate UTI testing method than the highly advanced Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common types of bacterial infections in adults [1], [2]. An estimated 60% of women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime [3]. UTI treatment and management cost billions of health care dollars annually in both the ambulatory and the inpatient setting [3], [4]. Molecular testing for the diagnosis of UTI, including next-generation sequencing (NGS) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), has increased in popularity recently owing to frustration with using conventional urine culture. Molecular diagnostic methods advertise increased sensitivity in the detection of urinary pathogens, which make their use attractive to patients and providers; however, efficacy in this setting is as yet unclear.

In summary, while both PCR and urine culture are commonly used to test for a UTI, there is arguably no better or more accurate UTI testing method than the highly advanced Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test

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