Bladder function assessment and review

Bladder function assessment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is a combination of tests that are used to examine your child’s urinary system and how it is working in close detail.

How does the urinary system work?

How does the urinary system work?

These tests are usually carried out over a period of up to five hours so you should expect to stay in the department for this amount of time. It may be suggested if your child is having trouble staying dry (continent) or has other problems weeing (urination). It may also be suggested if your child has structural problems with their urinary system.

Are there any alternatives?

Various types of scan such as renal ultrasound can show the size and shape of your child’s urinary system but not how it is working. The results of the assessment are used to plan your child’s treatment if any is needed.

When you receive your appointment letter

If you are unable to keep this appointment, please inform the department at least two weeks beforehand. Sometimes, we can offer the appointment to another child on the waiting list.

We will send a 48-hour measuring chart to record how much fluid your child drinks and how much they wee in a two day period. Please remember to bring this with you to the appointment as we may have to reschedule the test if we do not have this vital information.

On the day of the appointment

Please arrive at the Urodynamics Unit at the time stated in your child’s appointment letter.

The assessment will start with the nurse asking lots of questions about your child’s health and their history of weeing and any weeing problems. They will also review the 48-hour measuring chart to get an impression of how your child’s urinary system is working. While this is happening, we will ask your child to drink steadily until their bladder is full.

The nurses will take your child to our special ‘uroflow’ toilet, which takes lots of measurements as your child is weeing. It is important that your child relaxes and wees normally – forcing out wee can give a false result. Next, they will do an ultrasound scan of your child’s bladder to see if it is empty or not. The ultrasound scan is done in the Urodynamics department. Some children may also have to visit the x-ray department to have an ultrasound of their kidneys and abdomen.

These two tests – uroflow and bladder ultrasound – are repeated two to three times to get a full picture of your child’s weeing. As soon as enough information has been recorded, you and your child will be able to go home.

Are there any risks?

No – neither the uroflow nor the ultrasound have any risks. Your child may feel a little uncomfortable with a full bladder but we will make sure that they get to the uroflow in good time. The jelly used for the bladder ultrasound will feel a bit cold but it will not hurt.

After the appointment

The team will review the results from both the uroflow and the ultrasound and use them to decide whether your child would benefit from treatment and if so, which treatments to recommend. This could include treatment at home with medicines or learning new behaviours or other treatment options may be suggested.You will have an outpatient appointment to discuss options with the medical team. We usually review the treatment suggested around three to four months after the initial appointment.

Compiled by:
The Urodynamics Unit in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
October 2018