• In a cohort of 67 otherwise healthy patients with acute pyelonephritis that was severe enough to warrant hospitalization and uroradiography, 8% had a genitourinary abnormality that influenced management. Consequently, over 90% of patients had studies that did not alter their care. In an attempt to identify clinical clues that might increase specificity without compromising sensitivity of the intravenous pyelogram in acute pyelonephritis, only the fever curve was statistically useful. Confined to patients who were febrile through 72 hours of appropriate antibiotic treatment, the yield of urography in demonstrating anomalies of immediate clinical significance rose from 8% to 36%. The likelihood of an acutely important abnormality was also increased fivefold in both diabetic patients and patients with a urinary pathogen other than ampicillin-sensitive Escherichia coli, but small numbers precluded statistical significance. Bacteremia was common (27%), but not helpful other than in confirming the microbiological diagnosis. Nonacute structural abnormalities were present in 43% of the patients, three to nine times more frequently than in reported cases without upper tract infection.
(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:2144-2148)