Medical and psychosocial complications associated with method of bladder management after traumatic spinal cord injury

Anne P. Cameron, Lauren P. Wallner, Martin B. Forchheimer, J. Quentin Clemens, Rodney L. Dunn, Gianna Rodriguez, David Chen, John Horton, Denise G. Tate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objectives To determine the relationships between bladder management method and medical complications (renal calculi or decubitus ulcers), number of hospital days, and psychosocial factors. We hypothesized that indwelling catheterization would be associated with more complications, more hospitalizations, and worse psychosocial outcomes compared with other bladder management methods. Design Inception cohort study. Setting Model spinal cord injury (SCI) centers funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research from 1973 to 2005. Participants Persons with new traumatic SCI (N=24,762) enrolled in the National SCI Database entire data set forms I and II. Patients were stratified according to the bladder management method recorded at each time of data collection into 1 of 4 groups as follows: indwelling catheterization, spontaneous voiding, condom catheterization, and intermittent catheterization. Those who reported no management method or errors in reporting were excluded (n=1564). Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Medical complications, including pressure ulcer number and grade of worst ulcer, kidney stones, and hospitalizations, as well as psychosocial factors (satisfaction with life, perceived health status, societal participation), were stratified by bladder management method. Results were adjusted for level and completeness of neurologic injury and other confounding and modifying factors. Results Compared with other forms of bladder management, use of an indwelling catheter was associated with more pressure ulcers and longer and more hospitalizations for all causes and urology-specific causes. Indwelling catheter use was associated with the lowest levels of participation, but similar satisfaction with life and perceived health status. Conclusions Indwelling catheterization was associated with more medical complications and lower levels of participation than other bladder management methods, but more research is required to ascertain the causality of these complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Catheters, indwelling
  • Pressure ulcer
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Urinary bladder, neurogenic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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