Cystometrogram (urodynamics or pressure tests on the bladder)

What is this?

Filling of the bladder through a catheter and recording of the bladder response to filling

What alternatives are there?

Observation, treatment without the information that this test might produce

What to expect before procedure

You have been asked to attend for a cystometrogram, a test which measures bladder function. We ask that you submit a urine test for infection to your GP surgery one week before this appointment because we cannot perform the study if you have active infection in your urine. Please bring the result of this urine test with you when you attend for your cystometrogram. Please ensure that any medication for your bladder symptoms, e.g. Oxybutynin (Ditropan), Tolterodine (Detrusitol) or Solfenacin (Vesicare), is stopped a week before your test. After checking for allergies, you will normally be given an antibiotic tablet before the test to prevent infection in your urine. You will also be asked to undergo swabbing of your nose & throat to ensure that you are not carrying MRSA.

What happens during the procedure?

In adults, the procedure is normally performed with the aid of a small amount of local anaesthetic gel passed into the urethra (water pipe). You will also be given a single dose of antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection to a minimum. The test will usually be performed by a Specialist Nurse and/or a Urologist. On arrival in the department, you will be asked to pass urine into a device called a flow-rate machine so, if you are able to pass urine, please ensure that you arrive with your bladder comfortably full. Equipment used for urodynamics You will be positioned comfortably on a couch and two small tubes inserted, one into the urethra (water pipe) and the other into the anus (back passage). After the tubes have been inserted, your bladder may be emptied and the tubes connected to the measuring apparatus. During the test, your bladder will be filled slowly with water at a measured rate. You will be asked to cough and strain at intervals and to tell us when you first feel the desire to pass urine. You will then be encouraged to hold on until your bladder feels quite full. If one of your symptoms is leakage of urine, we will try to reproduce this so that we can see what the bladder is doing when the leakage occurs. Patients often find this embarrassing but it is a necessary part of the information needed to treat your symptoms. Be reassured that it is an important part of the test and that we will do all we can to be as supportive as possible during this process.

After the procedure

When the procedure has been completed, you will again be asked to pass urine into the flow rate machine. The tubes will then be removed and you will be able to dress while the results of your test are being analysed. If the urologist is in the Clinic, your results will be discussed and it will be decided what action is needed to improve your symptoms. If the doctor is not in the clinic, you will be given an outpatient appointment to discuss the results and any further treatment. When you go home, we would like you to drink plenty of fluids for the next 24-48 hours in order to flush your system through.

Potential side effects