Utility and cost-effectiveness of uroflowmetry in a busy pediatric urology practice
Keywords:Uroflowmetry, pediatric urology, cost-effectiveness
Introduction: Uroflowmetry (UF) is frequently employed in daily pediatric urology practice for diagnostic and follow-up purposes. We assess the utility and cost-effectiveness of UF in the management of patients seen at a tertiary care centre.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of consecutive patients who had a UF between January 1, 2010 and March 31, 2010. We collected data on demographics, diagnosis, UF parameters and the impact of the UF on management. The impact on management was defined as indication for surgery, introduction of new medications and bladder retraining based on clinical and UF findings.
Results: In total, 524 patients were included in the study. In 63 (12%) patients, UF was performed as part of the evaluation at the first clinic appointment. The most common diagnoses were voiding dysfunction (VD) 41%, hypospadias 26%, vesicoureteric reflux (VUR) 16%, monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis (NE) 8%, posterior urethral valves 5% and meatal stenosis (MS) 4%. In the VD group, UF contributed to a management decision in 25.2% of patients. In the MS group, surgical intervention was based on symptoms and supported by the UF in 41% of patients; in the PUV group, 50% of patients demonstrated high (>20 cc) post-void residual, which aided in management decisions. In contrast, there were virtually no changes in management supported by the UF in the NE, VUR and hypospadias groups. Overall, UF parameters had a direct influence in the management decisions in only 67 (12.8%) patients. Nonetheless, a repeat test was ordered for 44.5% of patients.
Conclusions: In an era of financial restraints and in a busy tertiary pediatric urology practice, judicious use of UF for specific indications may translate into a more cost-effective use of time and resources. As expected, patients with VD were the ones that benefited most from the test, as did patients with symptomatic MS and PUV.
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