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Urologic dysfunction and neurologic outcome in coma survivors after severe traumatic brain injury in the postacute and chronic phase.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate voiding dysfunction and upper urinary tract status in survivors of coma resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to compare clinical and urodynamic results with neurologic and psychological features as well as functional outcomes.

DESIGN: Observational study focused on urologic dysfunction and neurologic outcome in coma survivors after traumatic brain injury in the postacute and chronic phase.

SETTING: A postcoma unit in a rehabilitation hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Consecutive patients (N=57) who recovered from coma of traumatic etiology and who were admitted during a 1-year period to a postcoma unit of a rehabilitation hospital.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients underwent clinical urologic assessment, urodynamics with the assessment of the Schafer nomogram and the projected isovolumetric detrusor pressure to evaluate detrusor contractility, ultrasound assessment of the lower and upper urinary tract and voiding cystourethrography, routinely performed, according to the International Continence Society Standards. Neurologic variables assessed were brain injury and disability severity, and neuropsychological status. Neuroimaging identified the site of cerebral lesions.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Urinary symptoms, disability by means of the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS), and neuropsychological status by means of the Neurobehavioral Rating Scale (NBRS), and the relationships among them.

RESULTS: Of the 57 patients studied, 30 had overactive bladder (urge incontinence) symptoms, 28 had detrusor overactivity, and 18 had detrusor underactivity with associated pseudodyssynergia in 15 of these patients. Eleven patients had hypertrophic bladder; 3, bilateral pyelectasia; and 2, vesicoureteral reflux. Disability measured by GOS was severe in 8 patients and moderate in 27, while recovery was good in 22 patients. The mean NBRS total score indicated a mild cognitive impairment. Neuroimaging showed diffuse brain injury in all patients. Statistically significant relationships were found between urge incontinence, detrusor overactivity, and poor neurologic functional outcome, between detrusor overactivity and right hemisphere damage (P=.0001), and between impaired detrusor contractility and left hemisphere injuries (P=.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Most patients who recovered from coma resulting from TBI have symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome and voiding difficulties. These urinary problems correlate with cerebral involvement and neurologic functional outcome.

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