Background: Pelvic fracture urethral injuries (PFUI) occur in up to 10% of pelvic fractures. It remains controversial whether initial primary urethral realignment (PR) after PFUI decreases the incidence of urethral obstruction and the need for subsequent urethral procedures. We present methodology for a prospective cohort study analyzing the outcomes of PR versus suprapubic cystostomy tube (SPT) after PFUI.
Methods: A prospective cohort trial was designed to compare outcomes between PR (group 1) and SPT placement (group 2). Centers are assigned to a group upon entry into the study. All patients will undergo retrograde attempted catheter placement; if this fails a cystoscopy exam is done to confirm a complete urethral disruption and attempt at gentle retrograde catheter placement. If catheter placement fails, group 1 will undergo urethral realignment and group 2 will undergo SPT. The primary outcome measure will be the rate of urethral obstruction preventing atraumatic passage of a flexible cystoscope. Secondary outcome measures include: subsequent urethral interventions, post-injury complications, urethroplasty complexity, erectile dysfunction (ED) and urinary incontinence rates.
Results: Prior studies demonstrate PR is associated with a 15% to 50% reduction in urethral obstruction. Ninety-six men (48 per treatment group) are required to detect a 15% treatment effect (80% power, 0.05 significance level, 20% loss to follow up/death rate). Busy trauma centers treat complete PFUI approximately 1-6 times per year, thus our goal is to recruit 25 trauma centers and enroll patients for 3 years with a goal of 100 or more total patients with complete urethral disruption.
Conclusions: The proposed prospective multi-institutional cohort study should determine the utility of acute urethral realignment after PFUI.
Keywords: Genitourinary trauma; pelvic fracture urethral injury (PFUI); primary realignment; urethral injury; urethroplasty.