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Proteinuria is utilized to screen for underlying kidney disease and serves as a marker of disease progression. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that patients with proteinuria will have a higher frequency of urine dipstick positive for leukocytes as an index of noninfectious renal inflammation. In this retrospective analysis, 1,099 urine specimens were evaluated from 676 patients. Proteinuria was present in 39% of the samples and leukocyturia in 5.1%. The percentage of urines that were dipstick positive for leukocytes was similar in those specimens with or without proteinuria. However, in patients with proteinuria and concomitant leukocyturia, the mean serum creatinine concentration was higher (P=0.003) and the calculated GFR was lower (P=0.01) compared to those without this additional abnormality. These differences were noted despite similar age, gender distribution, and array of underlying diseases in these two groups. Based on these findings, urine dipstick testing for leukocytes as a primary means of screening otherwise healthy children for serious renal disease is of little value. However, in patients with established proteinuria, a positive dipstick result for leukocytes is a simple means of identifying those with more prominent noninfectious renal inflammation, a process which may promote kidney disease progression. This finding may serve as an early marker of the severity of renal injury, regardless of whether the primary process is glomerular or tubular.


Shira Koss, Ari Perl, Adinah Wieder, Rachel Frank, Suzanne Vento, Howard Trachtman. Proteinuria and renal disease: prognostic value of urine dipstick testing for leukocytes. Pediatric nephrology (Berlin, Germany). 2006 Apr;21(4):584-7

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PMID: 16508775

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