A urine dipstick is a colorimetric chemical assay that can be used to determine the pH, specific gravity, protein, glucose, ketone, bilirubin, urobilinogen, blood, leukocyte, and nitrite levels of an individual's urine. It consists of a reagent stick-pad, which is immersed in a fresh urine specimen and then withdrawn. After predetermined times the colors of the reagent pad are compared to standardized reference charts.
The urine dipstick offers an inexpensive and fast method to perform screening urinalyses, which help in identifying the presence of various diseases or health problems. This test should be interpreted with caution, however, due to numerous limitations, including inaccurate results due to medications and collection techniques. Abnormal values need to be confirmed with more precise quantitative measurements.
MARSHALL L. STOLLER