A urine test strip or dipstick is a basic diagnostic tool used to determine pathological changes in a patients urine in standardurinalysis.
A standard urine test strip may comprise up to 10 different chemical pads or reagents which react (change colour) when immersed in, and then removed from, a urine sample. The test can often be read in as little as 60 to 120 seconds after dipping, although certain tests require longer. Routine testing of the urine with multiparameter strips is the first step in the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases. The analysis includes testing for the presence of proteins, glucose, ketones, haemoglobin, bilirubin, urobilinogen, acetone, nitrite and leucocytes as well as testing of pH and specific gravity or to test for infection by different pathogens.
Emergency physicians routinely order urinalysis (UA) many times each shift. It's usually a straightforward issue, and most physicians think they are well versed in the interpretation of the results: You give it a glance, and make a decision. The dipstick analysis, the microscopic exam, and other information gleaned from a UA make their way into decision-making for a variety of diagnostic, therapeutic, and disposition issues. Like most things learned in detail many years ago, the interpretation of the UA should be revisited on a regular basis.