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Urology. 2000 Apr;55(4):490-4.

Association of level of injury and bladder behavior in patients with post-traumatic spinal cord injury.

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Department of Urology, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.



The expected urodynamic findings of patients with suprasacral and sacral spinal cord injury have previously been reported. However, the associations between the radiographically determined level or levels of injury and urodynamic findings are ill defined. This study investigated these relationships, specifically the bladder behavior of patients with post-traumatic spinal cord injury with combined suprasacral and sacral injuries.


A retrospective review of the patient records, spinal imaging studies, and video-urodynamic studies of 316 patients with post-traumatic spinal cord injury was performed. Of these patients, 243 had complete spinal computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging studies and constitute the study population. Patients were categorized by the radiographically determined level or levels of injury, clinical neurologic level and completeness of injury, and urodynamic findings.


Of the 196 patients with suprasacral injuries, 186 (94.9%) demonstrated hyperreflexia and/or detrusor sphincter dyssynergia, 82 (41.8%) had low bladder compliance (less than 12.5 mL/cm H(2)O), and 79 (40.3%) had high detrusor leak point pressures (greater than 40 cm H(2)O). Of the 14 patients with sacral injuries, 12 (85.7%) manifested areflexia, 11 (78.6%) had low compliance, and 12 (85.7%) had high leak point pressures. Of the 33 patients with combined suprasacral and sacral injuries, urodynamic studies showed 23 with hyperreflexia and/or detrusor sphincter dyssynergia (67.7%), 9 with areflexia (27.3%), 19 (57.6%) with low compliance, and 20 (60.6%) with high leak point pressures.


In patients with a single level of spinal cord injury, this study revealed a significant association between the level of injury and the type of voiding dysfunction. Patients with combined suprasacral and sacral injuries, as identified with precise spinal imaging techniques, had relatively unpredictable urodynamic findings. Management of the urinary tract in patients with spinal cord injury must be based on urodynamic findings rather than inferences from the neurologic evaluation.

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