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J Urol. 2001 Dec;166(6):2376-81.

Bladder function in healthy neonates and its development during infancy.

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Department of Paediatric Surgery/Urology Section, Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Bladder function in healthy neonates and its development during infancy are described.


Results of free voiding studies of healthy neonates and infants using 4-hour voiding observation and urodynamics studies were reviewed.


According to these studies, voiding in the healthy neonate is characterized by small, frequent voids of varying volume in the individual case and interrupted voiding in 30% of the cases. Interrupted voiding is clearly an immature phenomenon since it is seen in 60% of preterm neonates and disappears completely before the age of toilet training. These voidings are considered to be due to a dyscoordination between the sphincter and detrusor, which has also been observed on urodynamic studies and which probably also explains incomplete emptying seen in this age group. Emptying remains incomplete to the age of toilet training when residual urine is median 0 ml. during 4 hours of observation. Voiding rarely occurs during quiet sleep even in the neonatal period, when signs of arousal are often noted before voiding. However, voiding during sleep in 60% occurs of preterm infants, indicating that it may be due to maturation of the central nervous system. Bladder instability is rarely seen in healthy neonates and infants according to urodynamic studies but hyperactivity is suggested in the neonatal bladder with premature voiding contractions after only a few milliliters of filling and with leakage of urine. This latter phenomenon probably explains the low cystometric bladder capacity in this age group. High voiding pressure levels also accompany this low bladder capacity.


Thus, it can be suggested that the neonatal bladder is regulated by neuronal pathways with connections to the cerebral cortex in the neonatal period, which is contrary to the earlier concept of voiding as an automatic event in response to a constant volume in the bladder. This theory does not mean that voiding is conscious or voluntary in this age group, but only that the voiding reflex disturbs the neonate. New characteristics include the concept of physiological dyscoordination, such as hyperactivity of the detrusor seen as low bladder capacity, and high voiding pressures in the neonatal period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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