The factors related to the occurrence of bacteraemia following urinary tract manipulation were studied in a large community hospital. During a 3-year period, forty-six of 326 episodes of hospital-acquired bacteraemia were associated with urinary tract manipulation. All thirty of forty-six cases felt to be definitely related to urinary tract manipulation (other obvious sources of bacteraemia being absent) had pre-existing urinary tract disease, especially of an obstructive type; only one in this group died from sepsis. The remaining sixteen patients had other possible sources of bacteraemia besides urinary tract manipulation and had disorders associated with defects in host defences; twelve (75%) in this group died from overwhelming sepsis. Thus, if bacteraemia occurs in a patient having had urinary tract manipulation but without any underlying urinary tract abnormality or impairment in host defences, its source should be searched for in other areas of the body.
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