Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 7, Issue 4, Pages 247-249
Original Article

Variability in Urine Culture Reporting by Canadian Microbiology Laboratories

Michael A Noble and Shirley Nikiforuk

Clinical Microbiology Proficiency Testing, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Received 1 August 1995; Accepted 29 February 1996

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: To determine the ability of microbiology laboratories to perform and to report urine colony counts.

DESIGN: Clinical Microbiology Proficiency Testing program participants received stabilized simulated urine samples. Laboratories were asked to perform the appropriate test and report results.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and nine clinical microbiology laboratories in British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Consistency of reporting was compared with standards for reporting results as described in the SI Manual in Health Care, 2nd edition.

RESULTS: The study demonstrated a wide variation in units used for the reporting of results. Ninety-five (87.2%) laboratories reported quantitative urine results in a variety of unit styles. Of those laboratories providing results with units, 80 (84.2%) used one of 10 variations of SI reporting styles. Fifteen (16.8%) laboratories reported metric units in three different styles. Eleven (10.0%) laboratories reported semiquantitative values without stating units. The remaining three (2.8%) did not respond to the survey.

CONCLUSIONS: Many clinical microbiology laboratories have not adopted a consistent form of SI units for reporting quantitative urine culture results. This lack of consistency could potentially lead to interpretation confusion.