BACKGROUND: False-positive results for human chorionic gonadotropic (hCG) on point-of-care (POC) devices can occur for a variety of technical and biological reasons. It has been postulated that urinary tract infection can result in false-positive POC hCG assays, but the cause of this phenomenon remains elusive. Gram-positive bacteria have previously been reported to express an hCG-like molecule. We investigated whether urinary tract infection with Gram-positive bacteria can result in false-positive POC hCG. METHODS: We utilized remnant clinical urine specimens that had been submitted for culture as part of evaluation for urinary tract infection. Urine specimens with >100,000 colony-forming units per milliliter of Gram-positive bacteria (n = 95) were tested on ICON 20 POC hCG tests (Beckman Coulter). Specimens from adult patients that had been collected for clinical testing in the prior 48 hours were included in the study, and only 1 specimen per patient was included. RESULTS: Of 95 patients with Gram-positive urine specimens, 42 (44%) were female, and the median age was 62 years. The most common bacteria identified during clinical urine culture of these patients' specimens were coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species (36/95, 38%), Enterococcus species (34/95, 36%), and Streptococcus agalactiae (9/95, 9%). Five of 95 (5.3%) urine specimens were positive for POC hCG. Chart review revealed that 3 specimens were from pregnant women and 2 were from patients with cancer diagnoses. CONCLUSIONS: Urine specimens from patients suspected to have urinary tract infection with Gram-positive organisms did not cause positive results on POC hCG test devices.
- Gram-positive bacteria
- urinary tract infection