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J Urol. 1999 Jul;162(1):142-6.

Urodynamic characterization of nonobstructive voiding dysfunction in symptomatic elderly men.

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  • 1Division of Urology, Surgical Service, Brockton and West Roxbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



The pathogenesis of lower urinary tract symptoms in men without bladder outlet obstruction has not been well characterized. Therefore, we defined the urodynamic abnormalities associated with symptomatic nonobstructive voiding dysfunction, and determined the relationship between age and type of dysfunction.


Video urodynamic studies of symptomatic men without outlet obstruction were examined. The criterion for a normal bladder outlet was a pressure gradient across the prostatic urethra of 5 cm. water or less in the absence of distal stricture. A maximum isometric contraction pressure less than 60 cm. water was regarded as impaired detrusor contractility. Detrusor instability was defined as involuntary detrusor contractions during filling or the inability to suppress a detrusor contraction after initiation of flow. Patients were categorized into 4 groups based on the urodynamic findings.


Of 193 men (mean age 69.6+/-10.5 years) 40.9% had detrusor instability (group 1), 31.1% had impaired contractility (group 2), 10.8% had detrusor instability and impaired contractility (group 3), and 17.1% were urodynamically normal (group 4). Average patient age was significantly lower in group 4 than all other groups. Bladder capacity was lowest in group 1, and group 3 had the lowest voiding efficiency. Maximum flow rate, bladder compliance and symptom scores were not different among the 4 groups. The prevalence of detrusor instability with and without impaired contractility increased, while the proportion of patients without urodynamic abnormalities decreased with age. Bladder contractility did not correlate with age.


The nonobstructed patient population comprises several groups that are functionally distinct while symptomatically similar. Thus, treatment of nonobstructed cases based on symptoms may lead to inappropriate pharmacological therapy and unsuccessful clinical outcomes.

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