Macroscopic haematuria is a commonly seen condition in the emergency department (ED), which has a variety of causes. However, most importantly, macroscopic haematuria has a high diagnostic yield for urological malignancy. 30% of patients presenting with painless haematuria are found to have a malignancy. The majority of these patients can be managed in the outpatient setting. This review of current literature suggests a management pathway that can be used in the ED. A literature search was done using Medline, PubMed and Google. In men aged >60 years, the positive predictive value of macroscopic haematuria for urological malignancy is 22.1%, and in women of the same age it is 8.3%. In terms of the need for follow-up investigation, a single episode of haematuria is equally important as recurrent episodes. Baseline investigation in the ED includes full blood count, urea and electrolyte levels, midstream urine dipstick, β human chorionic gonadotrophin, and formal microscopy, culture and sensitivities. Treatment of macroscopic haematuria aims at RESP—Resuscitation, Ensuring, Safe and Prompt. Indications for admission include clot retention, cardiovascular instability, uncontrolled pain, sepsis, acute renal failure, coagulopathy, severe comorbidity, heavy haematuria or social restrictions. Discharged patients should drink plenty of clear fluids and return for further medical attention if the following occur: clot retention, worsening haematuria despite adequate fluid intake, uncontrolled pain or fever, or inability to cope at home. Follow-up by a urological team should be promptly arranged, ideally within the 2-week cancer referral target.
- ED, emergency department
- IVU, intravenous urography
- KUB, kidney, ureters, bladder
- USS, ultrasound scanning
- UTI, urinary tract infection
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Competing interests: None.
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