How are kidney infections (pyelonephritis) diagnosed?

Two common laboratory tests are performed to diagnose kidney infections (pyelonephritis). A urine sample is examined under a microscope to determine if white and/or red blood cells are present. The urine is also sent to the lab to see if bacteria grow in a urine culture. If a person is very sick, blood cultures may also be sent. The strain of bacteria that are cultured will determine the type of therapy used in your treatment.

Pyelonephritis can often be treated without X-ray studies, unless your doctor suspects there may be an addition problem. CT scans produce images of structures and organs and these scans are usually done without contrast (dye). A renal ultrasound may sometimes suffice for evaluation.

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