Urodynamic Testing-Patient Information
Urodynamic testing is performed to assess problems with passing urine, such as frequency, urgency, leakage, waking to pass urine many times at night and poor urinary flow. This test is particularly useful in people who have not responded to simple treatments or if symptoms have returned after surgery. In addition, people with neurological conditions (ie. stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, Alzheimer’s disease) may need a urodynamic test to evaluate their urinary symptoms.
Your bladder is a hollow muscular organ shaped like a balloon that sits in the pelvis and stores urine until you are ready to empty it through your urethra. A healthy bladder can hold up to 400-500ml of urine comfortably. How frequently it fills depends on how much excess water your body is trying to get rid of. For urination to be normal, the bladder must store urine properly and squeeze it all out when your brain tells it to. In addition, there must be no blockage to the flow of urine in the urethra. If the bladder is not working properly or if there is a blockage to urine flow, a variety of urinary symptoms can be experienced. There are many different causes of urinary symptoms and a urodynamic test is done to investigate symptoms and guide appropriate treatment
How Is a Urodynamic Test Performed
You will be given an appointment for your test on a particular day. No specific preparation is required but you should try to have some urine in your bladder when you arrive for your test. The test is done while you are fully awake so it is quite safe to drive to and from your appointment. After changing into the gown provided to you, you will be asked to pass urine into a machine that measures the rate of urine flow. You will be asked to lie down on a tilting bed and a nurse will place a small plastic tube through your urethra into your bladder under local anaesthetic. This can be a bit uncomfortable or painful but is quite safe and only takes a few seconds. An even finer tube is placed in your rectum. This is not at all painful. Once the tubes are in place, they will be attached to a machine that can measure the pressure inside your bladder. Then the machine slowly fills your bladder with sterile fluid containing contrast (Xray dye). During this time, a doctor will ask you various questions about how your bladder is feeling, such as when you can feel it getting full and when you feel you really need to pass urine. If you have any concerns, you can mention them at any time. Xrays of your bladder are taken along the way to look at its shape. Once you have indicated that your bladder is quite full, you will be asked to pass the fluid into the measuring device again. Once this is done, all the tubes are removed and you can get dressed and go home. The test takes about 15-20 minutes.
After the Test
The doctor who performed the test will usually give you a brief explanation of the results, and then you can go home. You may have mild discomfort when you urinate for a few hours after the test, and a small amount of blood may be seen in the urine. If you have any signs of infection after leaving- including strong pain, chills, or fever, see your doctor or go to the nearest Emergency department.
A detailed report of the test will be sent to Dr Patel, and you will need to make an appointment to see him to discuss the results further and arrange any treatment that is required.Download a printer friendly version of this page