Background: Nowadays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the gold standard for evaluation and diagnosis of spinal cord abnormalities, which are considered among the leading causes of neurogenic bladder; however, MRI is a costly imaging method and is not available at all health centers. Sporadic studies have shown the alignment of MRI with ultrasonography results in diagnosis of spinal abnormalities; although none of these studies has expressed the diagnostic value of ultrasonography. 

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of ultrasonography in detection of spinal abnormalities in children with neurogenic bladder.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study carried out from January 2014 to November 2015 on patients with neurogenic bladder referred to Department of Radiology, Dr. Sheikh Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran. All patients underwent sonography of the spinal cord and soft-tissue masses; also, a spinal MRI scan was performed. The existence of spina bifida, sacral agenesis, posterior vertebral arch defects, mass, tethered cord, myelomeningocele, lipoma and fatty infiltration, dural ectasia, hydromyelia and syringomyelia, and diastomatomyelia was recorded during each imaging scan. Chi-square and Fisher’s tests were used for data analysis using SPSS 19.0 software, and the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonography findings were calculated by MedCale 26 software.

Results: Forty patients with neurogenic bladder (22 males/18 females), with an average of 25.73±19.15 months, were enrolled. The most common abnormality was found in patients’ MRI was tethered cord syndrome (70%). There was a significant relationship between ultrasonographic and MRI findings in spina bifida abnormalities (p=0.016), sacral agenesis (p=0.00), tethered cord (p=0.00), myelomeningocele (p=0.00), and lipoma and fatty infiltration (p=0.01). Ultrasonography had a sensitivity of 20.0%-100% and a specificity of 85.7%–100% depending on the detected type of abnormality.

Conclusion: It seems that ultrasonography has an acceptable and desirable sensitivity and specificity in the diagnosis of most of the spinal cord abnormalities except for dural ectasia, hydromyelia and syringomyelia, diastomatomyelia, and the spinal cord masses in children with a neurogenic bladder.


Keywords: Neurogenic bladder, Ultrasonography, Magnetic resonance imaging
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