Clinical Review

Health Care–Associated Urinary Tract Infections: Prevention and Management



When should asymptomatic candiduria be treated?

In adult patients with asymptomatic candiduria, there are 2 situations in which antifungal therapy is recommended. A patient undergoing a traumatic urologic procedure would be treated to avoid the risk for candidemia caused by the procedure. Also, in neutropenic patients empiric antifungal therapy should be administered because there is a high likelihood that this candiduria may actually represent hematogenous spread from candidemia.61,65

What is the treatment for symptomatic Candida cystitis?

Empiric treatment with oral fluconazole 200 to 400 mg daily for a total of 2 weeks is recommended in patients with persisting candiduria and symptoms of cystitis.65 Identifying the species is a crucial step in the treatment of Candida UTI. Several species (C. glabrata, C. krusei) are known to be resistant to fluconazole. Species identification and antifungal sensitivities should be done and therapy directed after obtaining these results.55

What is the recommended treatment for Candida pyelonephritis?

Treatment for pyelonephritis caused by fluconazole-susceptible Candida species is oral fluconazole 200 to 400 mg (3-6 mg/kg) for a total of 2 weeks.65 A fluconazole-resistant organism should be suspected when a non-albicans Candida species is isolated, such as C. krusei or C. glabrata. In this circumstance, in vitro antifungal susceptibility testing should be done. Echinocandins are not a good option in this situation because they do not reach adequate urine concentration and treatment failure is well documented.66-68 Amphotericin B deoxycholate (AmB) 0.3 to 0.6 mg/kg daily for 1 to 7 days, with or without oral flucytosine (25 mg/kg) 4 times daily, is recommended by the IDSA for the treatment of fluconazole-resistant isolates of C. glabrata and C. krusei.65 Further imaging with ultrasound, CT, or magnetic resonance should be done to rule out urinary tract obstruction and/or “fungus ball” formation. Emphysematous pyelonephritis and necrosis can occur and usually require nephrectomy. Perinephric abscess will need drainage, which can be accomplished through interventional radiological techniques.55

If a “fungus ball” is suspected in the kidney, how does the management change in a patient with Candida pyelonephritis?

A fungus ball must be treated with both antifungals and surgical intervention. Antifungal therapy should be continued during the surgical removal process to avoid fungemia. Interventional radiology should be consulted and is usually the best option for removal. Fungus ball(s) can and often do cause urinary obstruction. Temporary nephrostomy tube placement may be warranted in these situations to relieve the obstruction.55,65 AmB can be infused through the nephrostomy tube to increase local concentrations. This route of administration is not known to be nephrotoxic.55 Fluconazole infusion through a nephrostomy tube has also been used in the successful treatment of a fungus ball.69


Health care–associated UTIs are the most common nosocomial infection in the United States. UC placement and genitourinary manipulation or instrumentation play a major role in the development of CA-UTI. Clinicians should be aware of the appropriate and inappropriate use of UCs and their association with CA-UTI development. Removal of a UC when no longer necessary is key in prevention of CA-UTI. Treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria is generally not indicated. A multidisciplinary approach is essential when managing chronic indwelling UCs in SCI. PCN and ureteral stenting need close monitoring, and early removal should be performed if infection is suspected.

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