Significant bacteriuria was found in 19% of 87 women with primary biliary cirrhosis, whereas in 89 women with other types of chronic liver disease bacteriuria was present in only 7%. In 74 women with rheumatoid arthritis 8% were bacteriuric. Midstream urine specimens obtained from 144 consecutive women with primary biliary cirrhosis attending hospital over a two year period showed that 50 (35%) developed bacteriuria during 12 months of follow up. Bacteriuria was unrelated to age, raised serum bilirubin, drug therapy or urinary pH but was more common in patients with late stage (fibrotic) disease as judged by histological criteria. Fifty seven per cent of bacteriuric primary biliary cirrhosis patients suffered more than one urinary infection. Fifty nine per cent of the 156 bacteriuric episodes were asymptomatic. The types of organism isolated, the antibiotic sensitivity patterns and cure rate were similar to those reported in bacteriuric women without other underlying disease. The reinfection rate (34%), however, was double that reported for bacteriuric episodes in 'problem' women with recurrent bacteriuria, indicating a special susceptibility to urinary infection. The most common isolates were E coli (70%), which did not show abnormal adhesiveness to uroepithelial or buccal cells of normal women, or to those of primary biliary cirrhosis patients. Patients with primary biliary cirrhosis have not been reported to be more susceptible to infection in general. Bacteriuria, however, was common throughout all clinical stages of primary biliary cirrhosis. Thus there may be a unique association between bacteriuria and primary biliary cirrhosis.
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