Urinary neutrophil gelatinase associated lipocalin – A sensitive marker for urinary tract infection in children
Iswarya Jagadesan1, Indira Agarwal1, Swasti Chaturvedi1, Arun Jose2, Rani D Sahni3, Jude J Fleming2
1 Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Nephrology Division, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Paediatric Nephrology Division, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Paediatric Nephrology Division, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
Department of Paediatrics, Paediatric Nephrology Division, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Early antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI) in young children can prevent renal scarring. Sensitivity of pyuria and positive urine nitrite test as indicators of UTI are low, whereas results of urine culture, the gold standard for diagnosing UTI, may not be available for 48--72 h. Novel markers for rapid and accurate diagnosis of UTI would help in the early initiation of treatment in children with suspected UTI. We studied the utility of urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) as an early marker of UTI. This study included 100 children between 3 months and 5 years with suspected UTI. After parental consent, a midstream clean catch or suprapubic aspirate urine specimen was sent for culture and NGAL analysis. Sensitivity and specificity of urine NGAL as a marker of UTI were estimated. Of the 100 children evaluated, urine culture was positive in 34%. Median urine NGAL values were higher in culture-positive children than in culture-negative children (223.20 vs 13.65, P = 0.0001). Receiver operating curve analysis showed an optimal cutoff level of 27 ng/ml for urine NGAL (odds ratio, 8.2, 95% confidence interval, 3.1--22.1) correlating best with culture positivity. Sensitivity and specificity of urine NGAL estimation were significantly better (79.4% and 68.2%) when compared with urine white blood cell estimation (70.6% and 53%). Urine NGAL is a sensitive and specific marker to predict UTI in children with a cutoff level of 27 ng/ml. It may serve as a screening test for detecting simple, uncomplicated UTI in young children.