SUFU WM 2014 - Factors influencing barriers to care in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) complaining of urinary symptoms based on the Actionable Bladder Symptom and Screening Tool (ABSST) - Session Highlights

MIAMI, FL USA ( - This was one of several posters on the use of the ABSST questionnaire in the neurogenic population. The aim of this research was to identify barriers patients with MS experience in seeking evaluation for urinary symptoms and how these factors relate to the ABSST.

This was a prospective, observational study of 100 patients (Women = 79, Men=21) with MS, who were not seeing a GU specialist. They were enrolled from an MS center. The patients completed demographic information, a validated short form of the ABSST, and questions to assess barriers to care. sufu xAn ABSST score ≥ 3 met criteria for referral and evaluation. Forty percent said they wanted to see a specialist for bladder evaluation and 33% had seen one in the past. The most frequent reasons for seeking prior care were incontinence (46%) and recurrent UTIs (24%). When asked: “If you HAVE NOT SEEN a doctor for your bladder problems, indicate what are the possible factors that limited your ability to see a physician?” 50 % of men and 10% of women noted that the doctor had never provided a referral or asked about bladder problems.

Twenty- seven patients had an ABSST Score ≥ 3. Two months after enrollment, follow-up calls were made to assess whether patients had seen a GU specialist. Of the 49 participants who were contacted (and despite persistent urinary symptoms in some patients), only one participant followed up with a physician after 2 months. The authors concluded that the short ABSST is a valuable tool to identify MS patients willing to seek evaluation. The identification of this need alone, unfortunately, did not result in a significant increase in evaluation. This underscores the fact that other barriers, beyond awareness, play a role in preventing access to care.

Actionable Bladder Symptom Screening Tool (ABSST):
sufu wm absst thumb

Presented by Margarita Aponte, MD at the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU) Winter Meeting - February 25 - March 1, 2014 - Doral Golf Resort and Spa - Miami, Florida USA

Reported for by Diane K. Newman, DNP, FAAN, BCB-PMD