October 4, 2013

Your urinary tract is the system that makes urine and carries it out of your body. It includes your bladder, kidneys and the tubes that connect them. When germs get into this system, they can cause an infection.

Aside from pain, cloudy or bloody urine, infections could be a warning of something more serious.

Infections and other inflammatory stimuli have emerged as potential important triggers of vascular events. Previous studies have reported that 25 to 35 percent of people suffering an acute cerebrovascular accidents or stroke also suffer from infection (respiratory or urinary tract infection, etc).

Researchers practicing at CAMC wanted to compare the incidence of prior urinary tract infections, or UTI, among stroke patients to reported UTI rates among the general population to see if there was a connection.

Their findings showed some evidence that the incidence of UTI is significantly higher for stroke patients than is found in the general population.

They presented their findings at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research session and have submitted it to an upcoming international conference.

"There has been some thought in the medical community that acute infections and other inflammatory stimuli have emerged as important triggers of stroke," said Kuruvilla John, MD, neurologist and principal investigator. "We wanted to evaluate the relationship between preceding UTI and the onset of stroke. That might bring more attention to the medical community and general population which could lead to earlier stroke intervention."

Along with Dr. John, Maher Kali, MD, Dan Lucas, PharmD, Mike Broce, Dara Seybold, Mary Emmett, PhD and Bernardo Reyes, MD, are listed as authors of the study.

The researchers reviewed nearly 1,300 medical records for stroke patients who also had urinalysis within 72 hours prior to or less than 24 hours after admission.

They found that the incidence of urinary tract infection is significantly higher for patients with stroke than is found in the general population.

The research helped change practice for patients admitted with stroke. A urinalysis is implemented as a routine test upon admission.

"We hope our finding will lead to more research in this medical domain, propagating a better understanding of the stroke triggers," Dr. John said.

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