A Brief History of Recommendations
Back in the 1980s when I trained, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended a screening urinalysis at four age points during childhood: infancy, early childhood, late childhood, and adolescence. Getting urine out of a child can be incredibly time consuming. Stick-on bags can be used in children not yet toilet trained, although results are often contaminated by skin flora. Bags can also leak, making the process a frustrating waiting game.
In 2000 the AAP published new guidelines with screening UA recommended only at 2 ages: 5 years old, the typical age of school entry, and in sexually active adolescents.
Today's well child preventive care guidelines are known as Bright Futures. The components of care are enlarged in the figure at the right; recommended lab studies are listed under Procedures, and no urinalysis can be found in this table or elsewhere in the document.
At present, it would appear that otherwise healthy, asymptomatic children do not need screening UAs.
What About Sports?
After exploring a number of professional sites, including the AAP, I found no recommendations for UAs prior to athletic participation. Blood pressure screening is included, with the recommendation that children with unexplained or uncontrolled hypertension should not participate in power lifting or body building. A urinalysis should be included in the work-up of hypertension in children, but that goes beyond the scope of the sports physical.
So the Answer is...?
None of the above. Currently, no UA is recommended at any age or before any activity for healthy, asymptomatic children.
So what are primary care providers actually doing? And why is this an issue? More fun to come, WhizBangers!