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Proteinuria in hospitalised internal medicine adult patients
  1. Zvi Shimoni1,
  2. Paul Froom2,
  3. Jochanan Benbassat3
  1. 1 Medicine, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Haifa, Israel
  2. 2 School of Public Health, Tel Aviv University, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel
  3. 3 Medicine (retired), Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jochanan Benbassat, Medicine (retired), Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; jochanan.benbassat{at}


Rationale Dipstick proteinuria may be a sign of a renal disorder, false-positive or associated with acute disease, and consequently, transient in hospitalised patients.

Objective To assess (a) the prevalence of proteinuria in hospitalised patients; (b) its association with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), findings known to cause false-positive test results and indicators of acute disease and (c) the need for follow-up after discharge.

Setting and participants All patients who had a dipstick urinalysis on admission to medical wards of a 400-bed regional hospital in 2018–2019.

Outcome variable Proteinuria.

Independent variables (a) Other findings on dipstick urinalysis; (b) patients’ age, gender, presence of urinary catheter and eGFR and (c) white blood cell count (WBC) and fever.

Results Of 22 329 patients, 6609 (29.6%) had urinalysis. Of those, 2973 patients (45.0%) had proteinuria of ≥+1 (≥0.30 g/L). The variables independently associated with proteinuria were other dipstick findings known to cause false-positive test results, elevated WBC, fever on presentation, presence of a urethral catheter and a low eGFR. eGFR alone was a poor predictor of proteinuria (c-stat 0.62); however, addition of the remaining independent variables to the model significantly improved its predictive ability (c-stat 0.80).

Conclusions Dipstick proteinuria is common in hospitalised patients. Although weakly associated with eGFR, proteinuria is mainly associated with confounding factors that may result in false-positive test results. The need for follow-up of proteinuria after discharge has questionable clinical utility and its high frequency would entail a considerable cost.

  • epidemiology
  • nephrology
  • adult nephrology
  • chronic renal failure

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Not applicable.

Statistics from

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Not applicable.

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  • Contributors All the authors contributed to the conceptualisation, methodology, writing, review and editing. PF performed the analysis. All authors have read and approved the present version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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