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What is urodynamics?

Urodynamics is a test that gives us information about the layout or anatomy of the urinary tract but also gives us information about how it functions. It is a day procedure with no overnight stay. The test is in 2 parts: the filling and the emptying.  It has to be done awake so we can understand the bladder in it’s natural state and now it feels for your child.

The filling

We introduce dye slowly, like the bladder is naturally filling just a bit quicker. We take X-rays at intervals. This shows us what the bladder looks like and gives us clues about problems. At the same time, we measure the pressure. This tells us if it is a nasty high-pressure bladder, a reactive bladder, a normal bladder or a lazy bladder.

The emptying

We will ask your child to wee on a special toilet that measures the force of the wee, and the stream of the wee.

The information from both these parts of the wee cycle gives us targets for treatments for children with bladder problems.

How will the dye be put it and the pressures measured?

In little children, children used to catheters, or older children the catheters can often be placed via the natural routes in the X-ray department. We can use some laughing gas to help.

Most other children will go to theatre and have small specialist catheters placed in the bladder whilst the children are asleep. We might also place a rectal catheter to also help us. We need to do a calculation to see the pressure in bladder compared with the abdomen. If you have any more questions, please ask your child’s doctor.

How should we prepare for the day?

It is always good for your child to be well hydrated and not constipated. You will have antibiotics to take around the procedure which will depend on why your child is having it done. Normally if the doctor is putting the catheters in under general anaesthetic you child will not need antibiotics the day before as strong antibiotics are given whilst asleep.

If the catheters are being placed while your child is, awake then they should take a treatment does of antibiotics the day before, the day of, and the day after the procedure. If your child is on other medicines for the bladder you might be advised to stop them before the procedure.

What is the day of the test going to be like?

Option 1

If your child is having a catheter placed awake, they come in the morning or afternoon of the test. The urology team will help place the catheter. Then the dye will go in, the pressures measured and the emptying study. This might happen 2 times. We can then remove the catheter and you can go home to wait for the results in a few weeks.

Option 2

If your child is having the catheters under anaesthetic, they will come in the morning of the studies generally. They will not be able to eat or drink anything for a few hours beforehand, and will also need to follow Covid-19 guidelines.

Your child will go to theatre the morning and have the small catheters placed. The urodynamics will be in the afternoon. It can be a bit irritating to some children to have the catheters until the study in the afternoon, but we will give medicines to help. Once the study is finished the catheters are removed and you can go home, and get the results in a couple of days.

What should we expect after the study?

All children will be a bit sore at the site of the catheters.

Make sure your child drinks well to help them recover better.

The children will need 2 days treatment dose of antibiotics following the procedure. The results take a while to calculate and write up.

What might go wrong?

This is a common procedure and there are few problems.

Your child’s wee might look a little bit pink, or have blood in it. It might also feel sore when they go for a wee.

Infections are possible but we know the antibiotics can stop this. Sometimes there are catheter problems and occasionally the test is not diagnostic.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please use the contact details given to you in the first few days after the procedure. After this you can contact the urology nurse team on 0114 226 0502 or the urology secretary’s on 0114 271 7339


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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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