Urodynamic Devices – Technological Advancements to Improve the Efficiency of Measurement Techniques

Urodynamics is the study of the functions of organs in the lower urinary tract. Ideally, the lower urinary tract works properly when the bladder fills up with urine and the sphincter muscles close tightly around the opening of the bladder in order to stop the urine from seeping. When the bladder is filled completely, the urge to urinate gets stronger. While urinating, the sphincters relax, the bladder muscles become tight and squeeze the urine out through urethra. Even if one of the organs in the lower urinary tract do not coordinate well, the body shows lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) such as urinary tract infection, urine leakage, painful urination, and sudden urge to urinate.

Owing to the changing consumer lifestyle and dietary habits, the prevalence of urinary incontinence and other medical conditions causing bladder dysfunction is increasing. Attributing to the surging prevalence of bladder and urethral diseases and rising adoption of urodynamic products, demand for urodynamic devices is likely to boost in the near future.

Urodynamic Tests and the Most Sought-after Types of Urodynamic Devices

Urodynamic studies (UDS) is the investigation of how efficiently the sphincters, urethra, and the bladder are functioning. With the help of clinical assessment and physical measurements, the functioning of the lower urinary tract can be tested. Several symptoms such as stress incontinence, nocturia, urge incontinence, frequent urination, and painful urination indicate bladder dysfunction and the need for urodynamic testing. Different types of urodynamic tests such as uroflowmetry, cystometric tests, electromyography, and video urodynamic tests help physicians to diagnose the causes of medical conditions related the lower urinary tract.

Urodynamic devices are used to perform urodynamic tests and ensure precise measurements of physical parameters such as flow rate and bladder pressure. With the constant development of technology, a mounting number of advanced equipment is being introduced in the global urodynamic devices market. The type of urodynamic devices to be used in urodynamic tests mainly depends on the types of tests and measurements to be taken during these tests.

• Uroflowmetry Devices

Uroflowmetry is a type of urodynamic tests that involves measuring the volume and speed of urinating. The urodynamic devices used in uroflowmetry tests include a device that measures the quantity and the flow rate of urine, along with a computer that records the data. Based on the data, these urodynamic devices create a graph of the changes in the urine flow rate that helps in identifying when it reaches its highest and lowest point. It helps physicians diagnosing whether the muscles of the bladder wall are not strong enough, which ultimately helps to find out the cause and nature of bladder dysfunction.

• Video Urodynamic Devices

As the name suggests, video urodynamic devices including imaging equipment that is used to capture images or videos of the bladder while it is being filled and emptied. Video urodynamic devices may use ultrasound or x-ray equipment to collect the data in the form of images or videos. When x-ray equipment is used, a special fluid called contrast medium is used that is filled in the bladder, which is recorded on x-rays. An ultrasound equipment is used when warm water is filled in the bladder, and it delineates the bladder capacity with the help of unhazardous sound waves.

• Ambulatory Urodynamic Devices/ Urodynamic Catheters

Typically, in most of the urodynamic tests, the bladder is artificially speedily in order to recover the pressure and diagnose the cause of bladder dysfunction over a relatively shorter period of time. On the contrary, ambulatory urodynamic tests require to fill the bladder through natural kidney function, which impacts the types of urodynamic devices used in ambulatory urodynamic tests. In ambulatory urodynamic tests, microtip transducer-catheters or air-charged catheters are used to measure the pressure of the bladder. It is then recorded in a battery-operated recorder worn by the patient.

• Crystometers

Crystometers are used in crystometric urodynamic tests to measure parameters such as the capacity of the bladder to store urine, the pressure of the bladder during filling, and how full the bladder is before the patient feels the need to urinate. The urodynamic devices used in this test also include catheters that are used for emptying the bladder fully before the test. A small catheter integrated with a monometer – a pressure-sensing device – is positioned near the rectum, which measures the pressure of the bladder. Crystometer can also record involuntary contractions in the bladder, which plays an important role in identifying the cause of bladder dysfunction.

• Electromyography Devices

Electromyography is a urodynamic test which involves special sensors that can record the electrical reactions of nerves and muscles of the sphincters and the bladder. Urodynamic devices used in electromyography are integrated with sensors that are placed near the rectum and urethra, which record the movements in the nerves and muscles. Such technologically advanced urodynamic devices used in electromyography can inspect the coordination between the sphincters and the bladder, and help in diagnosing lower urinary tract diseases.

By Matthew M. Gable
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