Rate of Urinary Retention in Adults With Down Syndrome: A Prospective Study

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Down syndrome (DS) is associated with a higher incidence of many medical conditions, but little information regarding urinary retention exists. We assessed the urinary retention rates in a group of adults with DS and compared the characteristics of patients with and without urinary retention.


A prospective observational study of adults with DS was conducted. Patients were recruited at their regularly scheduled medical appointments. A noninvasive bladder volume instrument, the BladderScan BVI 3000, was used to determine the bladder volume after voiding.


We enrolled 66 patients (mean age, 36.6 years). Of these, 6 patients (9%) had urinary retention. Patients with urinary retention were significantly older (46.5 vs 35.6 years old; P = .022) and had higher rates of urinary frequency (P = .003) than patients without urinary retention. No other differences were statistically significant. Of the 6 patients with urinary retention, most (83.3%) were men and 45 years of age or older. Urinary frequency was the most common symptom associated with the diagnosis of urinary retention.


The reported frequency and symptoms of urinary retention in adults with DS who are older than 45 years of age can be used to guide further clinical evaluation for urinary retention.

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