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Quick-Wee: a novel method for collecting urine samples quickly from young children

Student News
Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 12:20pm
Dr Jonathan Kaufman, Doctorate of Medical Science candidate (MCRI/University of Melbourne) and Paediatric Registrar (RCH) shares his research that saw him take home Best Oral Presentation Award at the Australian Society for Medical Research, Victorian Student Symposium (2016).

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are a common infection in young children, and if untreated can lead to serious complications. Collecting a urine sample to investigate a suspected UTI is frequently required for young children, but is often a difficult procedure.

Non-invasive methods of urine sample collection (such as using an adhesive urine bag, or trying to catch a sample when the child voids spontaneously) are gentle, but can be unsuccessful. It is difficult to prevent samples collected this way becoming contaminated by incidental skin bacteria, which is highly undesirable and corrupts the test result. Invasive methods of urine sample collection (such as a catheter or needle sample) can be more reliable, but require equipment and expertise to perform, and cause pain and distress to the child. Outside of hospital centres, clinicians may lack the resources or training required to perform invasive urine sample methods when non-invasive methods have been unsuccessful.

The Quick-Wee series of studies aims to develop an improved and pragmatic method of urine collection that is reliable for clinicians, gentle for children, and practical to use in busy clinical environments and in resource limited settings.

Quick-Wee, an improved non-invasive urine collection method, is based on the physiology and clinical observations of newborn voiding reflexes. The method involves gentle cutaneous stimulation to trigger voiding, to facilitate catching a urine sample without long delays or the need for invasive catheter or needle samples. The simple technique involves gently rubbing the skin of the lower abdomen using wet gauze, which is well tolerated by most children.

Results from the Quick-Wee Pilot Study in the RCH Emergency Department are promising, with 30% of the 40 participants voiding within 5 minutes, compared to 12% from a Baseline Study of routine practice.

Dr Kaufman has received a number of trainee research awards for his innovative Quick-Wee Pilot Study, including:

  • Best Oral Presentation Award (1st year doctorate student): Australian Society for Medical Research, Victorian Student Symposium (2016)
  • Best Trainee Paper Prize: Australasian Society Of Emergency Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting (2015)
  • Paediatric Trainee Research Award For Excellence: RACP Victoria (2015)

The Quick-Wee Randomised Controlled Trial is now underway. If demonstrated to be effective in this large trial of 354 infants in the Emergency Department, clinicians will have a practical non-invasive urine collection method to use in their every-day practice.

Dr Kaufman's research and D.MedSci is supervised by A/Prof Franz Babl and A/Prof Penelope Bryant, and supported by the MCRI Emergency Research Group.