OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence, natural history, and clinical significance of high postvoid residual (PVR) volume in ambulatory older women.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.
SETTING: Group health plan in Washington state.
PARTICIPANTS: Nine hundred eighty-seven ambulatory women aged 55 to 75.
MEASUREMENTS: PVR was measured using bladder ultrasonography at baseline, 1 year, and 2 years. Participants completed questionnaires about urinary symptoms and provided urine samples for microbiological evaluation.
RESULTS: Of the 987 participants, 79% had a PVR less than 50 mL, 10% of 50 to 99 mL, 6% of 100 to 199 mL, and 5% of 200 mL or greater at baseline. Of women with a PVR less than 50 mL, 66% reported at least one urinary symptom at baseline. Of women with a PVR of 200 mL or greater, 27% reported no significant symptoms at baseline. In adjusted analyses using data from all study visits, women with a PVR of 100 mL or greater were more likely to report urinating more than eight times during the day (odds ratio (OR)=1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.07–1.87), and women with a PVR of 200 mL or greater were more likely to report weekly urgency incontinence (OR=1.50, 95% CI=1.03–2.18) than those with a PVR less than 50 mL. High PVR was not associated with greater risk of stress incontinence, nocturnal frequency, or urinary tract infection in adjusted analyses. Forty-six percent of those with a PVR of 200 mL or greater and 63% of those with a PVR of 100 to 199 mL at baseline had a PVR less than 50 mL at 2 years.
CONCLUSION: More than 10% of ambulatory older women may have a PVR of 100 mL or greater, which is associated with greater risk of some urinary symptoms, but many with high PVR are asymptomatic, and high PVR frequently resolves within 2 years. Symptom-guided management of urinary symptoms may be more appropriate than PVR-guided management in this population.