Send to

Choose Destination
J Urol. 1998 Mar;159(3):761-5.

The diagnosis of bladder outlet obstruction in men by ultrasound measurement of bladder wall thickness.

Author information

Department of Surgery, L'Aquila University School of Medicine, Italy.



The objective of the study was to investigate specificity and sensitivity of bladder wall thickness in the diagnosis of bladder outlet obstruction.


The study included 174 patients referred to our prostate centers for lower urinary tract symptoms. Free uroflowmetry and pressure-flow studies were performed in duplicate as part of the diagnostic evaluation. After the 2 voiding studies were done the bladder was filled to 150 ml. and wall thickness was measured via suprapubic ultrasound. Bladder outlet obstruction was diagnosed and graded according to the Abrams-Griffiths and Schäfer nomogram as well as to the group specific urethral resistance algorithm.


A significant correlation (r > 0.6, p < or = 0.007) was found between bladder wall thickness and all parameters of the pressure-flow study. A bladder wall thickness of 5 mm. appeared to be the best cutoff point to diagnose bladder outlet obstruction, since 63.3% of patients with bladder wall thickness less than 5 mm. were unobstructed while 87.5% of those with a bladder wall thickness 5 mm. or greater were obstructed. Bladder wall thickness out performed uroflowmetry in terms of specificity and sensitivity in the diagnosis of outlet obstruction as demonstrated by an area under curve value of 0.860 versus 0.688 in the receiver operator characteristics analysis.


Measurement of bladder wall thickness appears to be a useful predictor of outlet obstruction with a diagnostic value exceeding free uroflowmetry although it does not represent a substitution to invasive urodynamics. These data support the hypothesis that the relationships between morphology and function are of clinical importance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center