One Hundred Unstable Bladders

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To investigate the correlation between presenting symptoms and cystometric data in patients with urodynamically proven detrusor instability.


A retrospective review was conducted of standardized urodynamic data bases and cystometrograms from the gynecologic urodynamics laboratories at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, and Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia.


Of the 100 patients reviewed, 86% complained of urge incontinence and 78% complained of urinary urgency; however, 76% also complained of stress incontinence. Statistical evaluation of symptoms by analysis of variance showed no significant correlations between the symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency and any of the cystometric indices. Patients with motor urge incontinence had significantly smaller mean cystometric bladder capacities than patients without this complaint (299.9 ± 132.5 versus 553.6 ± 173.6 mL; P<.01). One-third (34) of the patients had mixed incontinence due to genuine stress incontinence as well as detrusor instability. Compared with patients suffering from detrusor instability alone, patients with mixed incontinence had significantly larger cystometric bladder capacities (396.0 ± 172.9 versus 308.1 ± 154.8 mL; P<.02) and a lower amplitude of the maximum detrusor contraction (38.8 ± 21.7 versus 49.9 ± 25.1 cm H2O; P<.04).


Women with detrusor instability represent a diverse population with a wide variety of symptoms and urodynamic findings. Patients with mixed incontinence may represent a subpopulation distinct from those with pure detrusor instability. Further research that attempts to describe other discrete subpopulations of patients with detrusor instability may improve our understanding of this troublesome clinical problem.

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