The method of bladder drainage in spinal cord injury patients may influence the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder – a hypothesis

BMC Urology, Apr 2002

Background In spinal cord injury (SCI) patients, no correlation was found between the number of bladder infections per year, the period since injury, the neurologic level of the spinal cord lesion and the histopathology of the urinary bladder mucosa. The use of chronic indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters in SCI patients is often associated with inflammatory and proliferative pathological conditions in neuropathic bladder. Presentation of the hypothesis We propose a hypothesis that the type of bladder drainage in SCI patients influences the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder. This hypothesis implies that SCI patients with long-term indwelling urinary catheters develop certain histological changes in bladder mucosa, which are seen less frequently in SCI patients, who do not use long-term indwelling catheters. The latter group includes patients, who perform regular intermittent catheterisation and those, who wear a penile sheath and empty their bladders satisfactorily by reflex voiding. We hypothesise that the following histological lesions are seen more frequently in the neuropathic bladder of SCI patients with long-term indwelling catheters. (1) Papillary or polypoid cystitis; (2) widespread cystitis glandularis; (3) moderate to severe, acute and chronic inflammatory changes in bladder mucosa; (4) follicular cystitis; (5) squamous metaplasia; and (6) urothelial dysplasia As per this hypothesis, it is postulated that the above pathological conditions are seen less often in SCI patients, who achieve complete, low-pressure emptying of the neuropathic bladder by regular intermittent catheterisation, and SCI patients with penile sheath drainage, who empty their bladders satisfactorily by reflex voiding. Testing the hypothesis A large prospective study of bladder biopsies in SCI patients practising different methods of bladder drainage is required to validate this hypothesis that the histological changes in bladder mucosa are related to the method of bladder drainage in SCI patients. Implications of the hypothesis We propose a hypothesis that the method of bladder drainage in SCI patients influences histological changes in the bladder mucosa. If this hypothesis is validated, methods of bladder drainage such as intermittent catheterisation, which do not require the use of chronic indwelling catheters, should be recommended, in order to minimise adverse histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder of spinal cord injury patients.

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The method of bladder drainage in spinal cord injury patients may influence the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder – a hypothesis

BMC Urology 2BH2M0y0C2pU,orotlhogeysis x The method of bladder drainage in spinal cord injury patients may influence the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder - a hypothesis Subramanian Vaidyanathan 1 Paul Mansour 0 Bakul M Soni 1 Gurpreet Singh 1 Pradipkumar Sett - 1 0 Department of Cellular Pathology, District General Hospital , Southport PR8 6PN , UK 1 Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, District General Hospital , Southport PR8 6PN , UK Background: In spinal cord injury (SCI) patients, no correlation was found between the number of bladder infections per year, the period since injury, the neurologic level of the spinal cord lesion and the histopathology of the urinary bladder mucosa. The use of chronic indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters in SCI patients is often associated with inflammatory and proliferative pathological conditions in neuropathic bladder. Presentation of the hypothesis: We propose a hypothesis that the type of bladder drainage in SCI patients influences the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder. This hypothesis implies that SCI patients with long-term indwelling urinary catheters develop certain histological changes in bladder mucosa, which are seen less frequently in SCI patients, who do not use long-term indwelling catheters. The latter group includes patients, who perform regular intermittent catheterisation and those, who wear a penile sheath and empty their bladders satisfactorily by reflex voiding. We hypothesise that the following histological lesions are seen more frequently in the neuropathic bladder of SCI patients with long-term indwelling catheters. (1) Papillary or polypoid cystitis; (2) widespread cystitis glandularis; (3) moderate to severe, acute and chronic inflammatory changes in bladder mucosa; (4) follicular cystitis; (5) squamous metaplasia; and (6) urothelial dysplasia As per this hypothesis, it is postulated that the above pathological conditions are seen less often in SCI patients, who achieve complete, low-pressure emptying of the neuropathic bladder by regular intermittent catheterisation, and SCI patients with penile sheath drainage, who empty their bladders satisfactorily by reflex voiding. Testing the hypothesis: A large prospective study of bladder biopsies in SCI patients practising different methods of bladder drainage is required to validate this hypothesis that the histological changes in bladder mucosa are related to the method of bladder drainage in SCI patients. Implications of the hypothesis: We propose a hypothesis that the method of bladder drainage in SCI patients influences histological changes in the bladder mucosa. If this hypothesis is validated, methods of bladder drainage such as intermittent catheterisation, which do not require the use of chronic indwelling catheters, should be recommended, in order to minimise adverse histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder of spinal cord injury patients. - Background Yalla [1] remarked that progressive structural changes in the bladder of a spinal cord injured (SCI) patient usually depend on the level and completeness of the cord lesion, duration of the lesion and rehabilitative management strategies. Delnay and associates [2] studied histological changes associated with chronic indwelling urinary catheter in 208 spinal cord injured patients. These patients had indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters for more than 8.5 years. Squamous cell carcinoma was found in 10, transitional cell carcinoma in five and adenocarcinoma in two. Non-malignant mucosal changes in bladder biopsies included inflammation in 89%, cystitis glandularis in 17% and cystitis follicularis in 10%. Janzen and associates [3] reviewed 94 urinary bladder biopsies in patients with spinal cord injury and found no correlation between the number of bladder infections per year, the period since injury, the neurologic level of the spinal cord lesion and the histopathology of the urinary bladder mucosa. Presentation of the hypothesis We propose a hypothesis that the type of bladder drainage in spinal cord injury patients may influence the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder. This hypothesis implies that SCI patients with long-term indwelling urinary catheters develop certain histological changes in bladder mucosa, which are seen only rarely in SCI patients who do not use long-term indwelling catheters. The latter group includes SCI patients, who perform intermittent catheterisation and SCI patients, who wear a penile sheath and empty their bladders satisfactorily by reflex voiding. Discussion of the hypothesis We postulate that chronic indwelling catheter drainage of neuropathic bladder is associated with certain histological changes in bladder mucosa in spinal cord injury patients. This hypothesis is based on our preliminary observations of bladder biopsies in SCI patients who practise intermittent catheterisation. We list below the histological changes, which are seen frequently in SCI patients with longterm indwelling catheters. These pathological conditions are seen less often in SCI patients, who are practising intermittent catheterisation consistently. 1. Papillary or polypoid cystitis refers to thin, finger-like papillae or broad-based polypoid lesions with prominent stromal oedema typically associated with chronic inflammation. The lesions are covered by urothelium that is usually normal but may be occasionally metaplastic. There is no cytological atypia. Papillary or polypoid cystitis represents urothelial response to chronic irritation caused by long-term indwelling catheters. (Figure 1). The aetiology of the mucosal changes observed in papillary/polypoid cystitis is inflammatory rather than neoplastic. 2. Follicular cystitis refers to the presence of lymphoid ag gregates in submucosa with a germinal centre. Follicular cystitis is seen in the bladder biopsies of SCI patients with chronic infection. As SCI patients with long-term indwelling catheters often have chronic bladder infection, follicular cystitis is seen more frequently in the patients with long-term indwelling urinary catheters. (Figures 2). Similar changes may be seen in SCI patients who are on penile sheath drainage if they do not achieve satisfactory emptying of their bladders and consequently develop recurrent urinary infection. Although these SCI patients may not have chronic indwelling catheters, large residual urine in the neuropathic bladder and recurrent urinary infections predispose to changes in bladder mucosa, as observed in a 45-year old male with T-12 paraplegia. (Figure 3). We hypothesise that follicular cystitis occurs less frequently in SCI patients, who perform intermittent catheterisation consistently. SCI patients practising regular intermittent catheterisation are less likely to have recurrent or chronic bladder infection as compared to SCI patients with chronic indwelling catheters or, those with penile sheath drainage, who do not achieve satisfactory emptying of the neuropathic bladder. A prospective study of bladder biopsies in SCI patients practising intermittent catheterisation and those with chronic indwelling catheters will confirm or refute this hypothesis. 3. Cystitis glandularis is a proliferative disorder of blad der mucosa. The bladder mucosa shows the presence of Brunn's nests with or without cysts, which are often accompanied by columnar epithelial metaplasia. The glandular structures closely resemble the colonic crypts. Histochemical studies demonstrate glandular lesions in the bladder secrete colonic type mucin, and endocrine cells are positive with Grimelius' staining. Cystitis glandularis is seen often in SCI patients with long-term indwelling catheters. (Figures 4 and 5). As mentioned above, Delnay and associates [2] found cystitis glandularis in 36 of 208 (17%) spinal cord injured patients with indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters for more than 8.5 years who underwent bladder biopsy. It is believed that widespread cystitis glandularis may be a premalignant condition. [4]. In five large series of bladder adenocarcinoma, metaplastic cystitis glandularis was associated with malignancy in 10 to 42% of cases. [2]. The hypothesis proposed by us implies that cystitis glandularis occurs more frequently in SCI patients with chronic indwelling urinary catheters and it is observed less often in bladder mucosal biopsies taken from SCI patients who manage their bladder by intermittent catheterisation, performed consistently. A corollary to this hypothesis is that widespread cystitis glandularis is seen mainly in SCI patients with chronic indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters, and rarely in SCI patients who have been practising regular intermittent catheterisation and are free of urinary infections. A prospective study of bladder biopsies is required to validate this hypothesis. 4. Moderate to severe, acute and chronic inflammatory changes in bladder mucosa: The spectrum of inflammatory changes seen in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder appears to be related to the presence or absence of longterm indwelling catheters. The degree and extent of inflammatory changes in the bladder mucosa of patients with SCI, who have been practising intermittent catheterisation are markedly less (Figure 6), as compared to the biopsies taken from the neuropathic bladder of SCI patients with long-term indwelling catheters. (Figure 7). Wall and associates [5] obtained mucosal biopsies from 37 adults with spinal cord injury. All participants had required a chronic indwelling urethral or suprapubic catheter for greater than 8 years. Histopathological studies revealed active inflammatory infiltrates in all 37 biopsy specimens. Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of inducible nitric oxide synthase in inflammatory cells, which were localised to the lamina propria. Inducible nitric oxide synthase positive cells were identified as macrophages using monoclonal antibodies to macrophage antigen. A prospective study of bladder biopsies will identify the true incidence of severe inflammatory changes in bladder mucosa in SCI patients with chronic indwelling catheters and in those who perform regular intermittent catheterisation. 5. Squamous metaplasia: Delnay and associates [2] found non-keratinising squamous metaplasia in 47% of biopsies taken from SCI patients with chronic indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters; keratinising squamous metaplasia was seen in 6% of biopsies. Squamous metaplasia is a common result of chronic bladder irritation or infection. Kaufman and associates [6] reportedsquamous metaplasia in 80% of patients catheterised for more than 10 years compared to 42% catheterised for less than 10 years and 20% in spinal cord injury patients without long-term indwelling catheters. We observed squamous metaplasia in vesical mucosa of three groups of SCI patients: (1) SCI patients with long-term indwelling urinary catheters (Figures 8); (2) those with bladder calculi; (3) SCI patients with recurrent urinary infection. Keratinising squamous metaplasia was seen only in those patients with chronic urethral and/or suprapubic catheters. We did not observe keratinsing squamous metaplasia in spinal cord injury patients who did not have long-term catheters. We hypothesise that squamous metaplasia occurs less often in bladder biopsies of SCI patients, who started practising intermittent catheterisation soon after they recovered from acute effects of spinal cord trauma and who do not suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections. In contrast to SCI patients practising intermittent catheterisation, SCI patients, who have chronic indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters are more likely to develop squamous metaplasia. A large, prospective, histological study of bladder biopsies in SCI patients is needed to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. 6. Urothelial dysplasia: Urothelial dysplasia was seen in SCI patients with chronic urethral and/or suprapubic catheters. (Figure 9). Our assumption is that urothelial dysplasia occurs rarely in SCI patients, who have been performing intermittent catheterisation and who did not require long-term indwelling catheters. It is reasonable to postulate that chronic indwelling catheters, recurrent bladder stones, and frequent episodes of cystitis contribute to development of urothelial dysplasia in neuropathic bladder. [7]. A prospective study is required to confirm or refute this hypothesis that urothelial dysplasia occurs less often in SCI patients, who manage their bladders without chronic indwelling catheters as compared to SCI patients with long-term indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters. Testing the hypothesis A large prospective study of bladder biopsies in SCI patients practising different methods of bladder drainage is required to validate this hypothesis that histological changes in bladder mucosa are related to the method of bladder drainage in SCI patients. Implications of the hypothesis The drainage of neuropathic bladder by long-term indwelling catheters may be associated with histological changes in bladder mucosa, which include polypoid cystitis, follicular cystitis, widespread cystitis glandularis, and moderate to severe degree of acute and chronic inflammation. Inducible nitric oxide synthase is expressed in inflammatory macrophages in areas of chronic inflammation in the bladder mucosa of spinal cord injured patients with a chronic indwelling bladder catheter. The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase may potentially lead to the sustained production of nitric oxide and its oxidative products, the nitrosation of urinary amines and the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines in the bladder [5]. Delnay and associates [2] recommended that every effort should be made to eliminate ongoing causes of inflammation in SCI patients with squamous metaplasia. SCI patients should be treated with intermittent catheterisation and bladder stones should be removed promptly when identified, as continuing inflammatory insult may eventually result in malignancy. A corollary to this hypothesis is whether the lesions in bladder mucosa associated with chronic indwelling catheters are reversible if the method of bladder drainage is changed, say, from indwelling catheter drainage to intermittent catheterisation regime. We do not know as yet, whether the histological changes in the bladder mucosa associated with chronic indwelling catheters in SCI patients are permanent. We are unsure whether all histological changes observed in bladder biopsies of SCI patients, who have been on long-term indwelling urethral and/or suprapubic catheters, will resolve if these patients modify the method of bladder drainage and discard indwelling catheters. We believe that inflammatory changes in bladder mucosa might subside over a period of time, if a SCI patient practises intermittent catheterisation instead of using long-term catheter drainage of neuropathic bladder. It is rather unlikely that proliferative changes such as widespread cystitis glandularis will disappear completely if chronic indwelling catheter drainage is replaced by intermittent catheterisation regime. A longitudinal study of SCI patients, in whom bladder biopsies are taken sequentially when the method of bladder drainage is changed, will show whether the histological changes in bladder mucosa remain indefinitely or will revert to normal. If the longitudinal study shows that adverse histological lesions in bladder mucosa associated with chronic indwelling catheters are irreversible or, only partially reversible, this would have great relevance to clinical practice. We should then discuss with SCI patients and their carers, the need to shift to intermittent catheterisation from indwelling catheter drainage of neuropathic bladders as soon as possible, in order to prevent adverse histological changes in bladder mucosa. (1) Papillary or polypoid cystitis; (2) widespread cystitis glandularis; (3) moderate to severe, acute and chronic inflammatory changes in bladder mucosa; (4) follicular cystitis; (5) squamous metaplasia; and (6) urothelial dysplasia As per this hypothesis, it is postulated that the above pathological conditions are seen less often in SCI patients, who achieve complete, low-pressure emptying of the neuropathic bladder by regular intermittent catheterisation, carried out consistently, and SCI patients with penile sheath drainage, who empty their bladder satisfactorily by reflex voiding. A prospective study of bladder biopsies in SCI patients is needed to confirm or refute the hypothesis that method of bladder drainage influences histological changes in bladder mucosa. If this hypothesis is validated, methods of bladder drainage such as intermittent catheterisation, which do not require the use of chronic indwelling catheters, should be recommended, in order to minimise adverse histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder of spinal cord injury patients. Competing interests All authors provide medical care to spinal cord injury patients. The authors are committed to prevention of adverse histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder of spinal cord injury patients. Authors' contribution SV developed the concept, formulated the hypothesis and wrote the manuscript. PM interpreted histopathology slides of bladder biopsies. SV and GS carried out bladder biopsies in spinal cord injury patients. All authors contributed to the final version of the manuscript. Acknowledgement We thank AstraZeneca (Ms Charlotte Lawledge), Pharmacia (Ms Joanne Thomas), and Shire Pharmaceuticals (Mr Patrick Tierney) for financial support, which enabled the Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Southport, UK to become an institutional member of BioMed Central. 1. Yalla SV : Editorial comment on Bladder histological changes associated with chronic indwelling urinary catheter . J Urol 1999 , 161 : 1108 - 1109 2. Delnay KM , Stonehill WH , Goldman H , Jukkola AF , Dmochowski RR : Bladder histological changes associated with chronic indwelling urinary catheter . J Urol 1999 , 161 : 1106 - 1108 3. Janzen J , Bersch U , Pietsch-Breitfeld B , Pressler H , Michel D , Bultmann B : Urinary bladder biopsies in spinal cord injured patients . Spinal Cord 2001 , 39 : 568 - 570 4. Hackler RH : Editorial comment on Bladder histological changes associated with chronic indwelling urinary catheter . J Urol 1999 , 161 : 1109 5. Wall BM , Dmochowski RR , Malecha M , Mangold T , Bobal MA , Cooke CR : Inducible nitric oxide synthase in the bladder of spinal cord injured patients with a chronic indwelling urinary catheter . J Urol 2001 , 165 : 1457 - 1461 6. Kaufman JM , Fam B , Jacobs SC , Gabilondo F , Yalla S , Kane JP , Rossier AB : Bladder cancer and squamous metaplasia in spinal cord injury patients . J Urol 1977 , 118 : 967 -971 Vaidyanathan S , Soni BM , Paul Mansour , Glass CA, Singh G , Bingley J , Watt JW , Sett P : Community-care waiting list for persons with spinal cord injury . Spinal Cord 2001 , 39 : 584 - 588


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Subramanian Vaidyanathan, Paul Mansour, Bakul M Soni, Gurpreet Singh, Pradipkumar Sett. The method of bladder drainage in spinal cord injury patients may influence the histological changes in the mucosa of neuropathic bladder – a hypothesis, BMC Urology, 2002, 5, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2490-2-5