Ann Rehabil Med.  2020 Jun;44(3):228-237. 10.5535/arm.19107.

Changes in the Trend in Bladder Emptying Methods in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury: A 20-Year Single-Center Retrospective Study

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, National Rehabilitation Center, Seoul, Korea


To review trends in bladder emptying methods over a 20-year period in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) by severity according to the American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale (AIS).
Medical records of patients with SCI from 1994 to 1998 (group 1) and from 2012 to 2016 (group 2) were retrospectively reviewed. We classified bladder emptying methods according to the International Spinal Cord dataset. We grouped patients with normal voiding, bladder reflex triggering, and bladder expression as those using voiding without catheter.
A total of 667 patients were included in the analysis. The proportion of patients using voiding without catheter and intermittent catheterization decreased from 67.0% to 30.0% and increased from 26.8% to 54.8%, respectively. In patients with AIS-A and AIS-B, the proportion of patients with intermittent catheterization increased from 32.8% to 73.3%. In patients with AIS-D, the proportion of patients using voiding without catheter and intermittent catheterization decreased from 88.5% to 68.9% and increased from 11.5% to 26.8%, respectively. In group 2, among 111 patients with AIS-D using voiding without catheter at admission, 8 (7.2%) switched to intermittent catheterization at discharge due to decreased bladder volume, increased post-voiding residual urine, or incontinence.
Over the past 20 years, trends in bladder emptying methods in patients with SCI changed from voiding without catheter to intermittent catheterization in Korea. This was especially prominent in patients with AIS-A, AIS-B, and AIS-C. Even in patients with AIS-D, the use of intermittent catheterization at hospital discharge increased.


Spinal cord injuries; Urinary catheterization; Neurogenic bladder
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