Detrusor Underactivity: A Plea for New Approaches to a Common Bladder Dysfunction

G. A. van Koeveringe*, B. Vahabi, Karl-Erik Andersson, R. Kirschner-Herrmans, Matthias Oelke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Aims: Detrusor underactivity (DU) is defined by the International Continence Society as a contraction of reduced strength and/or duration resulting in prolonged or incomplete emptying of the bladder but has yet received only little attention. The purpose of this report is to summarize the ICI-RS meeting in Bristol in 2010 exploring current knowledge on DU and outline directions for future research. Methods: A think tank discussion was held and the summary of discussions was presented to all ICI-RS participants. This report is based on the final discussions. Results: The understanding of the pathophysiology, epidemiology, assessment, and treatment of DU remains rudimentary. DU is defined by pressure-flow analysis but no consensus exists regarding which of the available formulae should be used for quantification of detrusor work. DU is likely to be multifactorial. Aging causes a decay in detrusor activity but other concomitant causes, either myogenic or neurogenic, may aggravate the problem resulting in decrease of detrusor contractility. No effective pharmacotherapy for the condition exists. Only a few surgical therapeutic strategies have been explored, such as neuromodulation and skeletal muscle myoplasties. Consequently, the management of affected individuals remains unsatisfactory. Conclusions: Future directions recommended by the ICI-RS panel include assessment of pathogenesis by developing novel animal models in addition to new non-invasive tests allowing longitudinal trials. Furthermore, optimizing the existing evaluation algorithms to support standard testing for DU and further epidemiological studies to quantify the size of the problem are required for the development of future treatment modalities. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30:723-728, 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-728
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • bladder outlet obstruction
  • detrusor contractility
  • detrusor underactivity
  • non-obstructive voiding dysfunction
  • underactive bladder
  • urinary retention

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