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J Urol. 2012 Nov;188(5):1900-4. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.07.017. Epub 2012 Sep 19.

How dry is dry? A review of definitions of continence in the contemporary exstrophy/epispadias literature.

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Division of Urologic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.



Definitions of continence following surgery in children with exstrophy-epispadias complex vary widely. We assessed the most common definitions of continence and evaluated the clinical significance of usage patterns for those definitions.


We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE (2000 to 2011) for English language reports describing postoperative continence outcomes in children with exstrophy-epispadias complex. Articles were evaluated and data were abstracted by 2 reviewers. We assessed patient level factors such as age, preoperative diagnoses and use of additional therapies, as well as study level factors such as continence definition(s), country of origin and method of data collection.


We identified 884 articles, of which 87 met inclusion criteria. In total these studies included continence outcomes data on 2,681 patients (57% male). Only 59 studies (68%) clearly defined the term "continence." The most common definition of continence was dry with voiding/catheterization every 3 hours (used in 23 studies, or 39%, defining continence). There was no association between publication date (p = 0.17), study location (p = 0.47) or study size (p = 0.81) and continence definition. There was a trend toward improved reporting of methods for continence ascertainment in more recent years (p = 0.02). Of the 2,681 children included 1,372 (51%) were dry by the definition used in their study.


The most frequent definition of continence was "dryness with voiding or catheterization at 3-hour intervals." However, definitions were highly variable and many authors did not define continence at all. To better define outcomes, we recommend that a standardized definition of continence be established and used in future reports.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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