New technique for wee babies

Tuesday, 11 April, 2017

New technique for wee babies

The Quick-Wee method has been shown to be three times more effective than the current process used to collect urine samples from very young patients.

The standard ‘clean catch’ method (waiting for children to urinate and trying to catch the sample) can take up to one hour and has a higher risk of contamination than Quick-Wee.

A new Australian study published in the BMJ demonstrates that getting a urine sample from a very young child may be as simple as gently rubbing their stomach with cold, wet gauze.

‘Quick-Wee’, a method developed by Dr Jonathan Kaufman and his team from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, was developed to help clinicians collect urine samples from very young patients (0–1 years) quickly, gently and with minimal equipment.

Quick-Wee involves gently rubbing the lower abdomen with a piece of gauze soaked in cold liquid. The action stimulates cutaneous voiding reflexes (nerves on the skin which, when stimulated, trigger urination), and the clinician or parent is ready to catch the urine sample.

“The elusive urine sample has been described by some clinicians as ‘liquid gold’ for these reasons,” Dr Kaufman said.

“A delay or difficulty in collecting urine samples can lead to misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis of UTIs.”

Some clinicians will use a needle and catheter to collect urine. While this can be faster, it’s invasive, and it requires specific expertise to perform. It can also be painful, which is distressing for the child and their parents.

The idea for Quick-Wee came to Dr Kaufman while working in an emergency department.

“I’d observed that young children would occasionally urinate when a doctor cleaned their lower abdomen with cold, wet gauze before a procedure,” Dr Kaufman said.

“Knowing this action could trigger urination, I thought we could try it in an emergency setting when a urine sample was needed,” he said.

Dr Kaufman and his team recruited 354 patients who needed a urine sample for clinical reasons, to take part in a randomised controlled trial. Half were treated using Quick-Wee and half were treated using clean catch.

Thirty-one per cent of patients treated with Quick-Wee urinated within five minutes, compared to around 11 per cent treated with clean catch. Parents and clinicians were also more satisfied with Quick-Wee, in terms of ease and efficiency.

“The results from the trial suggest Quick-Wee is a feasible way to speed up urine collection, and a reasonable alternative to invasive methods for some children,” Dr Kaufman said.

In addition to reducing wait times in emergency, Dr Kaufman hopes that Quick-Wee will prevent complications from UTI illness, and reduce missed or misdiagnosis of UTI.

Image credit: ©

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