Quality and cost assessment of Canadian Urological Association microscopic hematuria guidelines in clinical practice: Turning urine into gold

Keywords: quality improvement, patient safety, asymptomatic hematuria


Introduction: Asymptomatic microscopic hematuria (AMH) is defined in the Canadian Urological Association (CUA) guideline as >2 red blood cells (RBCs) per high-powered field (HPF). Our objective was to evaluate guideline adherence for AMH at our center. Secondarily, we aimed to identify areas of the guideline that can be optimized.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 875 consecutive adults referred to two urologists for hematuria between June 2010 and June 2016. Patient characteristics, risk factors, and outcomes were added to an encrypted Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) database. Evaluation of microscopic hematuria reporting was performed by analyzing 681 urine samples reported as 1–5 RBC/HPF. Healthcare costs were obtained from Alberta Health Services (AHS), Data Integration and Management Repository (DIMR), and Alberta Society of Radiologists (ASR).

Results: Of the 875 patients referred with hematuria, 400 had AMH. Overall, 96.5% completed evaluation consistent with the CUA guideline. The incidence of pathology requiring surgical intervention was 21/400 (5%) with a 0.8% rate (3/400) of urothelial cell carcinoma (UCC) (non-invasive, low-grade). No malignancy was found in non-smokers with normal cytology, normal imaging and <50 RBC/HPF; 44% had AMH in the 1–5 RBCs/HPF range. Only 41% (279/681) of urine samples categorized as 1–5 RBCs/ HPF had guideline-defined microscopic hematuria. By changing local microscopic hematuria reporting to differentiate 1–2 and 3–5 RBCs/HPF, we estimate $745 000 in annual savings.

Conclusions: At our center, CUA AMH guideline adherence is high. We did not find malignancy in non-smokers with normal cytology, imaging and <50 RBC/HPF. We identified and changed regional microscopic hematuria reporting to fit the CUA definition, eliminating unnecessary investigations and healthcare costs.


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How to Cite
Assmus, M. A., Beyer, D. B., Hanks, J., Estey, M., Rourke, K. F., Schuler, T., & Wollin, T. A. (2019). Quality and cost assessment of Canadian Urological Association microscopic hematuria guidelines in clinical practice: Turning urine into gold. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 13(12), 406-11. https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.5809
Original Research