Identifying and classifying quality of life tools for neurogenic bladder function after spinal cord injury: A systematic review

To identify and classify quality of life (QoL) tools for assessing the influence of neurogenic bladder after spinal cord injury/disease (SCI).

Systematic Review Methods: Medline/Pubmed, CINAHL, and PsycInfo were searched using terms related to SCI, neurogenic bladder and QoL. Studies that assessed the influence neurogenic bladder on QoL (or related construct) in samples consisting of ≥50% individuals with SCI were included. Two independent reviewers screened titles and abstracts of 368 identified references; 118 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility, and 42 studies were included. Two reviewers independently classified outcomes as objective (societal viewpoint) or subjective (patient perspective) using a QoL framework.

Ten objective QoL measures were identified, with the Medical Outcomes Short Form (SF-36/SF-12) used most frequently. Fourteen subjective QoL measures were identified; 8 were specific to neurogenic bladder. Psychometric evidence for SCI-specific neurogenic bladder QoL tools was reported for the Quality of Life Index (QLI), Qualiveen, Bladder Complications Scale, Spinal Cord Injury-Quality of Life (SCI-QOL) Bladder Management Difficulties, and the SCI-QOL Bladder Management Difficulties-Short Form. The QLI and Qualiveen showed sensitivity to neurogenic bladder in experimental designs.

Several objective and subjective tools exist to assess the influence of neurogenic bladder on QoL in SCI. The QLI and Qualiveen, both subjective tools, were the only validated SCI-specific tools that showed sensitivity to neurogenic bladder. Further validation of existing subjective SCI-specific outcomes is needed. Research to validate objective measures of QoL would be useful for informing practice and policy related to resource allocation for bladder care post-SCI.

The journal of spinal cord medicine. 2016 Oct 13 [Epub ahead of print]

Krista L Best, Karen Ethans, B Catharine Craven, Luc Noreau, Sander L Hitzig

a Department of Rehabilitation, Université Laval , Quebec City , QC , Canada., c University of Manitoba , Department of Medicine , Winnipeg , MB , Canada., e Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network , Toronto , ON , Canada.