Better diagnosis for prostate problems | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - June 2006

Better diagnosis for prostate problems

The cuff, which has been developed thanks to funding from Action Medical Research, offers men an alternative to the traditional, more painful and invasive method of measuring bladder pressure, which requires the insertion of a catheter.

The team behind this novel device is based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Having developed the cuff in a previous project, their most recent Action Medical Research grant of £70,283 has allowed them to take their research a step further.

They have been investigating whether cuff pressure measurements are useful in identifying which men with bladder problems would benefit from a particular type of treatment — telescopic prostate surgery.

Their results have shown that those with cuff pressure readings indicating a blockage of the bladder outlet have a 90 per cent chance of benefiting from the surgery, compared to only a 50 per cent chance if the readings show no blockage. This means that of the 15,000 men currently undergoing telescopic prostate surgery each year, 3,000 have a high chance of an unsatisfactory outcome, and may wish to explore alternative treatments. Using the cuff measurement to predict the likely success of this surgical treatment could mean fewer men undergoing an unnecessary procedure.

Robert Pickard who led the research said, “Our new device works in a similar way to a blood pressure cuff, but by being placed around the penis and inflating and deflating whilst the patient urinates.This allows the pressure in the bladder to be measured and, in conjunction with urine flow results, will give clinicians a clearer picture of what the problem is and help predict which men are likely to benefit from surgery.”

The cuff, which was highly commended at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards in 2003, is now being promoted across the UK, Europe and Canada. In a recent survey carried out by the team, 85 per cent of men questioned preferred the new measurement technique.

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