Effect of material properties on predicted vesical pressure during a cough in a simplified computational model of the bladder and urethra

Thomas Spirka, Kimberly Kenton, Linda Brubaker, Margot S. Damaser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Stress urinary incontinence is a condition that affects mainly women and is characterized by the involuntary loss of urine in conjunction with an increase in abdominal pressure but in the absence of a bladder contraction. In spite of the large number of women affected by this condition, little is known regarding the mechanics associated with the maintenance of continence in women. Urodynamic measurements of the pressure acting on the bladder and the pressures developed within the bladder and the urethra offer a potential starting point for constructing computational models of the bladder and urethra during stress events. The measured pressures can be utilized in these models to provide information to specify loads and validate the models. The main goals of this study were to investigate the feasibility of incorporating human urodynamic pressure data into a computational model of the bladder and the urethra during a cough and determine if the resulting model could be validated through comparison of predicted and measured vesical pressure. The results of this study indicated that simplified models can predict vesical pressures that differ by less than 5 cmH2O (<10%) compared to urodynamic pressure measurements. In addition, varying material properties had a minimal impact on the vesical pressure and displacements predicted by the model. The latter finding limits the use of vesical pressure as a validation criterion since different parameters can yield similar results in the same model. However, the insensitivity of vesical pressure predictions to material properties ensures that the outcome of our models is not highly sensitive to tissue material properties, which are not well characterized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Finite element method
  • Modeling
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Urodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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