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Urate Crystals

The presence of urate crystals, sometimes called “amorphous urate crystals,” is generally of little clinical significance. They are found in acidic urine (pH less than 5.5). The formation of amorphous urate crystals can be caused by a combination of factors, including a diet rich in meat, decreased urine volume or a condition that acidifies urine such as chronic diarrhea. They are also present in individuals who have gout or during chemotherapy.

In individuals who have kidney stones, the repeated presence of amorphous urate crystals in the urine may indicate the probable nature of the stones. It should be noted, however, that most patients with amorphous urate crystals will never form stones.

Term of the Week

Hot zone

A hot zone is a section of a facility (sometimes an entire facility or even a city district) where there is a high risk of contamination by patients with an infectious disease. All individuals entering a hot zone must respect appropriate protective measures. By analogy, “cold zone” and “warm zone” are used to refer to areas where there is no infected individual or only individuals suspected of having an infection.