What is urodynamic testing?
Urodynamic testing is a procedure that that focuses on the bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty steadily and completely. A healthcare provider may recommend urodynamic testing if a patient’s health information, physical exam, and lower urinary track symptoms suggest problems such as overactive bladder, stress urinary incontinence, mixed incontinence or neurogenic bladder. The results of urodynamic testing will help diagnose the type of urinary incontinence contributing to the patient’s lower urinary tract symptoms.
Urodynamic testing does not involve any special preparation for patients. The test can be performed by a medical assistant or technician in the office setting. The test involves the following:
- Placing a specialized bladder catheter with multiple sensors to detect changes in bladder and urethral pressures.
- Sterile fluid is used to retrograde fill the bladder slowly, while the pressure sensors on the catheter detect any changes in bladder pressure that may be indicative of overactive bladder.
- The patient is also asked to cough or valsalva at certan intervals during the test while monitoring for any urinary leakage at the external urethral meatus. This would be indicative of potential stress urinary incontinence.
- Total bladder capacity is determined, as well as the patient’s ability to empty their bladder at the conclusion of the test (micturition reflex).
- The test takes approximately 40-45 minutes and does not require any anesthesia or post-procedural care. A low dose antibiotic may be adminisered after the procedure as a prophylactic measure.