Not all positive urine cultures indicate that the patient has a UTI. Positive urine cultures can result from improper, non-aseptic collection technique, improper specimen handling, or the presence of an indwelling urinary catheter, in addition to an actual infection.
Signs that the positive urine culture is actually a false positive one include:
- multiple positive cultures, each one with a different bacterial species
- cultures with multiple organisms
- positive cultures in the face of a normal UA
- positive cultures in the absence of symptoms
- urine cultures that grow atypical organisms
- positive cultures in patients with chronic indwelling catheters and no symptoms
- cultures with low levels of bacterial growth
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