• Results of urine cultures from 26 male nursing home patients wearing external catheters, collected by a simple standardized technique, were compared with culture results from the same patients obtained by sterile in-and-out catheterization. The culture results were the same in 22 (85%) of the matched specimens, and specimens collected by the standardized technique were 100% sensitive and 94% specific in detecting significant growth of pathogenic organisms. In contrast, 13 (57%) of 23 specimens collected from patients with external catheters by the nursing home staff using their routine technique yielded three or more organisms and were considered contaminated. These results suggest that it is possible to obtain a urine specimen that reflects bladder urine in the vast majority of patients with external catheters, and thus potentially avoid the need for in-and-out catheterization when diagnosing and planning treatment for urinary tract infections in this population.
(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:286-288)