Ureteral Stent Microbiota Is Associated with Patient Comorbidities but Not Antibiotic Exposure
Cell Reports Medicine
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Ureteral stents are commonly used to prevent urinary obstruction but can become colonized by bacteria and encrusted, leading to clinical complications. Despite recent discovery and characterization of the healthy urinary microbiota, stent-associated bacteria and their impact on encrustation are largely underexplored. We profile the microbiota of patients with typical short-term stents, as well as over 30 atypical cases (all with paired mid-stream urine) from 241 patients. Indwelling time, age, and various patient comorbidities correlate with alterations to the stent microbiota composition, whereas antibiotic exposure, urinary tract infection (UTI), and stent placement method do not. The stent microbiota most likely originates from adhesion of resident urinary microbes but subsequently diverges to a distinct, reproducible population, thereby negating the urine as a biomarker for stent encrustation or microbiota. Urological practice should reconsider standalone prophylactic antibiotics in favor of tailored therapies based on patient comorbidities in efforts to minimize bacterial burden, encrustation, and complications of ureteral stents.