Are urodynamic tests useful tools for the initial conservative management of non-neurogenic urinary incontinence? A review of the literature

Enrico Colli, Walter Artibani, John Goka, Fabio Parazzini, Alan J. Wein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: To summarise the evidence for the role of urodynamic tests in the diagnosis and classification of urinary incontinence. Methods: Reference lists in relevant papers were reviewed and MEDLINE searches conducted. Results: The mean sensitivity (specificity) of clinical history versus urodynamic tests was 0.82 (0.57) for stress incontinence, 0.69 (0.60) for urge incontinence/overactive bladder, and 0.51 (0.66) for patients with mixed incontinence. The proportion of women with a clinical diagnosis of urinary incontinence but with normal findings from urodynamic tests ranged from 3 to 8%. Overall sensitivity of urodynamic tests was about 85-90% in the diagnosis of urodynamic stress incontinence, but generally lower following diagnosis of urge and mixed incontinence. No relationship emerged between urodynamic test results and response to medical treatment. Conclusions: This literature review shows that the sensitivity of clinical history versus urodynamic tests was 0.82, 0.69 and 0.51 respectively for stress, urge and mixed urinary incontinence. It also suggests that urodynamic diagnosis does not predict response to treatment. These data add to the ongoing 'urodynamics or no urodynamics' debate in the evaluation of urinary incontinence and show that urodynamic testing may not be helpful for patients receiving initial non-invasive therapy. These data are in line with the conclusions of the 1st and 2nd International Consultations on incontinence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Diagnosis review
  • Overactive bladder
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urodynamic tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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