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Examining the long-term effects of UTI


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in childhood, but the long-term effects remain little studied. A new report examines if pregnancy could reveal renal damage.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be a fact of life for many children, but the long-term outcomes haven’t been well studied. A report in Pediatrics studied whether pregnancy later in life could reveal renal damage caused by a UTI.1

The researchers created a cohort of adult women who had an ultrasound taken because of a childhood UTI in 1981 to 1991. Nine women were excluded due to a severe congenital kidney malformation or urinary tract obstruction. A total of 260 mothers with a childhood UTI and 500 population-based control others without a history of a childhood UTI were matched for age and delivery dates.

They found that the pregnancy outcomes did not differ between both groups. No significant difference was found between the groups for proteinuria (relative risk [RR] 1.2; 95% CI 0.81 to 1.8; p = .36), gestational hypertension (RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.74 to 1.2; p = .54), essential hypertension (RR 1.0; 95% CI 0.65 to 1.6; p = .92), preeclampsia (RR 1.5; 95% CI 0.91 to 2.5; P = .11), and proteinuria (2 control women and 0 in the UTI group, p = .55) during the course of their first pregnancy.

Investigators concluded that UTIs without severe urinary tract abnormalities seem to have little impact on future kidney health. Additionally, there wasn’t an increased risk of complications during pregnancy tied to UTIs in childhood.


1. Honkila M, Hannula A, Pokka T, et al. Childhood urinary tract infections and pregnancy-related complications in adult women. Pediatrics. July 15, 2020. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-0610

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