Patient reported bladder related symptoms and quality of life after spinal cord injury with different bladder management strategies

Jeremy B. Myers, Sara M. Lenherr, John T. Stoffel, Sean P. Elliott, Angela P. Presson, Chong Zhang, Jeffery Rosenbluth, Amitabh Jha, Darshan P. Patel, Blayne Welk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Purpose: Neurogenic bladder significantly impacts individuals after spinal cord injury. We hypothesized that there would be differences in bladder related symptoms and quality of life for 4 common bladder management methods. Materials and Methods: In this prospective observational study we measured neurogenic bladder related quality of life after spinal cord injury. Study eligibility included age 18 years or greater and acquired spinal cord injury. Bladder management was grouped as 1) clean intermittent catheterization, 2) an indwelling catheter, 3) surgery (bladder augmentation, a catheterizable channel or urinary diversion) and 4) voiding (a condom catheter, involuntary leaking or volitional voiding). The primary outcomes were the NBSS (Neurogenic Bladder Symptom Score) and the SCI-QoL Difficulties (Spinal Cord Injury Quality of Life Measurement System Bladder Management Difficulties). Secondary outcomes were the NBSS subdomains and satisfaction with urinary function. Multivariable regression was done to establish differences between the groups, separated by level. Results: Of the 1,479 participants enrolled in the study 843 (57%) had paraplegia and 894 (60%) were men. Median age was 44.9 years (IQR 34.4e54.1) and median time from injury was 11 years (IQR 5.1e22.4). Bladder management was clean intermittent catheterization in 754 cases (51%), an indwelling catheter in 271 (18%), surgery in 195 (13%) and voiding in 259 (18%). In regard to primary outcomes, in cases of paraplegia and tetraplegia an indwelling catheter and surgery were associated with fewer urinary symptoms on the NBSS compared to clean intermittent catheterization while voiding was associated with more symptoms. In paraplegia and tetraplegia cases surgery was associated with fewer bladder management difficulties according to the SCIQoL Difficulties. In regard to secondary outcomes, surgery was associated with improved satisfaction in individuals with paraplegia or tetraplegia. Conclusions: In individuals with spinal cord injury fewer bladder symptoms were associated with an indwelling catheter and surgery, and worse bladder symptoms were noted in voiding individuals compared to those on clean intermittent catheterization. Satisfaction with the urinary system was improved after surgery compared to clean intermittent catheterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-583
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Patient reported outcome measures
  • Quality of life
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Urinary bladder, neurogenic
  • Urinary incontinence

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Observational Study


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