To assess the safety and efficacy of bladder irrigation for reducing the morbidity of bladder stones in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients.
From December 2011 to July 2013, SCI patients were prospectively randomized and assigned to either a bladder irrigation group or a no bladder irrigation group. Bladder irrigations were performed twice a week by urologists. The primary outcomes were incidences of bladder stones and Incontinence-Specific Quality-of-Life Instrument (I-QoL). Secondary outcomes were related adverse events.
A total of 80 eligible patients participated and 78 (97.5%) patients (bladder irrigation, n=39; no bladder irrigation, n=39) completed 24 weeks of follow-up. Out of the 78 patients, 19 (24.3%) developed bladder stones. All occurred in no bladder irrigation group. In 8 of the 19 patients (42.1%), stones were only detected by cystoscopy .The bladder stones were mostly thin with an eggshell appearance (78.95% for diameter of stone <5 mm, 84.21% for volume of bladder stone<0.2 cm 3). Bladder stones were removed by vigorous bladder irrigation guided by ultrasound (73.68%) or endoscopic lithotripsy (26.32%). The I-QOL was significantly better in the bladder irrigation group than in no bladder irrigation group at weeks 6, 12, 18, and 24 of follow-up.