Introduction: It is typical to look for UTI in delirious elderly patients, despite a high prevalence of asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) in this population. A common presentation of infection is delirium, which often has a non-specific and multifactorial etiology. Therefore, when bacteriuria is present with delirium in the absence of urinary symptoms, physicians prescribe antibiotics for the suspected UTI-induced delirium. We set to determine whether antibiotic treatment in the elderly presenting with delirium in the presence of ASB resulted in resolution of delirium. Methods: Literature searches were performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and Cochrane Library. Abstracts were independently reviewed by two authors for decision to include for full-text review. Inclusion criteria included female gender, >65 years of age, presenting in an acute care setting with delirium and ASB. The primary outcome was resolution of delirium. The secondary outcomes were mortality, frequency of side effects from antibiotics, length of hospital stay and readmission for delirium. Results: 930 abstracts published from 1946-2017 were screened, and 42 were included for full text review. No studies were eligible for inclusion in the systematic review, as none addressed the primary outcome. One study addressed the outcomes of poor functional recovery after delirium and the rate of improvement of delirium symptoms after presentation of delirium with ASB. Conclusion: Even though current guidelines recommend against treatment of ASB, no guideline states whether ASB should be treated in elderly patients with delirium. Little evidence exists to elucidate whether treating delirious patients with ASB results in improvement in outcomes. Future studies should focus on demonstrating the relationship between resolution of delirium with antibiotic treatment. This will clarify whether delirium is a true symptom of ASB and whether treatment results in faster resolution of delirium.
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