Urological Surveillance and Medical Complications among Ault Spina Bifida Medicare Beneficiaries

To evaluate urologic follow-up and prevalence of medical complications among adult myelomeningocele (MMC) patients in the United States who are Medicare beneficiaries.

We performed a retrospective study using a 5% Medicare sample from 2007-2010. We defined acceptable minimum follow-up criteria as patients receiving all of the following: serum creatinine, upper urinary tract imaging and a urologist evaluation within a 2-year period. We queried associated diagnoses and relevant complications using ICD-9 codes, graded based on clinical impact. A regression model identified factors associated with evaluation completeness as well as with increased prevalence of medical complications.

We identified 825 MMC patients, predominantly Caucasian (85.1%) and female (61.3%), with a mean age of 51.2 +/- 17.2 years. Only 33.5% of the patients met the minimum acceptable follow-up criteria. Forty-four percent saw a urologist within the 2-year period. Most complications observed were mild, observed in 27.6% of patients. Moderate and severe complications were observed in 17.0% and 6.6% of patients, respectively. The most common complications were cystitis (16.4%), pressure ulcers (7.1%), chronic kidney disease (4.4%), and pyelonephritis (3.7%). Logistic regression indicated that younger age, male gender and adequate follow-up were associated with increased prevalence of complications.

Despite high prevalence of complications in MMC patients, most are not receiving the minimum recommended follow-up. The 33.5% of patients who received adequate surveillance were diagnosed with more complications, likely secondary to improved disease ascertainment. Prospective studies are needed to look at follow-up strategies and how these can improve outcomes for MMC patients.

Urology. 2017 Sep 18 [Epub ahead of print]

Yahir Santiago-Lastra, Anne P Cameron, Julie Lai, Christopher Saigal, J Quentin Clemens, Urologic Diseases of America Project

University of California - San Diego Health, San Diego, CA. Electronic address: ., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI., RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA., University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.