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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Mar 1;52(3):712-9.

Risk factors for acute urinary retention requiring temporary intermittent catheterization after prostate brachytherapy: a prospective study.

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Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA.



We prospectively investigated prognostic factors for men undergoing transperineal radioactive seed implantation for prostate cancer at the University of Washington.


Between February and April, 1998, 62 consecutive unselected patients were prospectively followed after brachytherapy for early-stage prostate adenocarcinoma. Pretreatment variables included age, American Urological Association (AUA) score, uroflowimetry, and prostate volume by ultrasound. Nonrandomized variables included hormonal therapy, seed type, and use of pelvic radiotherapy. Patients were contacted by phone at one week postoperatively and at one-month intervals thereafter. Follow-up continued until all patients provided the date of last catheterization.


Urinary retention rate at one week was 34% (21 of 63 patients). At one month, 29%; at three months, 18%; and at six months, 10%. Preoperative flow rate and post-void residual did not predict for retention (p =.48 and p =.58). Use of alpha blockers, hormonal therapy, type of seed (103Pd or 1251), or external beam radiotherapy had no impact on risk of retention at any followup point. Preimplant volume and AUA score predicted for retention on univariate analysis, but on multivariate analysis only postimplant volume remained significant (p =.02) for predicting retention risk and duration.


Patients with large prostate size (>36 g) and higher AUA score (>10) appear to be at greater risk of risk of retention as well as duration of retention as defined in our study. Further investigation will be needed to clarify the risk of urinary retention for men undergoing brachytherapy.

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