Objective: To investigate lower urinary tract function in ambulatory children with myelomeningocele.
Patients and methods: The urological course of 45 children with myelomeningocele who walked either independently (19 children) or with ankle-foot orthotics (26 children) was reviewed. Follow-up ranged from 9 months to 13.5 years (mean 4.75 years).
Results: A normal pattern of voiding was observed both clinically and during urodynamic evaluation in only three of the 45 children, with the remainder displaying neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction. The independent walkers and those with orthotics did not differ in the spectrum of lower urinary tract dysfunction or other variables. Those patients with persistent incontinence underwent an initial urodynamic evaluation when older (mean 3.7 years versus 6.4 weeks in those who were continent).
Conclusion: Ambulatory children with myelomeningocele suffer the full spectrum of lower urinary tract dysfunction. Given the potential danger of untreated lower urinary tract dysfunction, ambulatory children with myelomeningocele should receive the same diagnostic and therapeutic attention as their peers with more overt neurological deficits.