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Neurology. 2007 Jun 5;68(23):1971-8.

Disparities in the management of multiple sclerosis-related bladder symptoms.

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Department of Neurology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH 44195, USA.



Participants enrolled in the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) registry report disability status using Performance Scales (PS), a self-report measure. The bladder/bowel subscale (PSB) of PS has not been validated. It is also unknown whether ethnic or socioeconomic disparities exist in bladder care.


We aimed to validate the bladder/bowel subscale used by the NARCOMS registry and to describe urologic symptoms, investigations, and treatments received by registry participants.


In the Fall 2005 update questionnaire, we collected the Bowel Control Scale (BWCS) and Urogenital Distress Inventory-6 (UDI-6) as criterion measures and urologic investigations and treatments. We measured associations between investigations, treatments, and symptoms with clinical and sociodemographic variables using chi(2) tests for categorical variables and Kruskal-Wallis tests for continuous variables, followed by multivariable logistic regression.


Nine thousand six hundred eighty-eight participants completed the survey. For the UDI-6, the median (interquartile range) score was 33.3 (16.7 to 50.0), for the BWCS 3 (1 to 6), and for the PSB 1 (1 to 3). The correlation between the PSB and the UDI-6 was r = 0.67 and between the PSB and the BWCS r = 0.53 (both p < 0.0001). Participants had increased odds of receiving medication for bladder symptoms if they had health insurance (odds ratio [OR] 1.90; 1.07 to 3.35). Participants who were white (OR 1.5; 1.16 to 1.94) and had health insurance (OR 2.0; 1.3 to 3.07) had increased odds of undergoing urologic investigations.


The Performance Scales bladder question has adequate criterion and construct validity in multiple sclerosis (MS). There are ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in bladder management in MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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