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The Role of Glomerulations in Bladder Pain Syndrome: A Review

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PURPOSE: As a diagnostic marker for bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis, glomerulations were first popularized by Messing and Stamey in 1978. Later this was included in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases criteria for research and consequently used by many urologists as a default diagnostic criterion. Today the connection between glomerulations and bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis is much debated as research has found glomerulations in asymptomatic populations. In this review we systematically examine the available research to see if there are valid data to support the use of glomerulations as a marker for bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A systematic literature search of the PubMed® database in March 2014 using the search term "Cystitis, Interstitial/diagnosis" [MAJR] OR (glomerulations OR glomerulation OR bladder petechiae) was performed, yielding 463 hits. An Embase® search using the search term "glomerulations" yielded 110 references, of which 68 were duplicates. Relevant articles were reviewed and included in the study. Bibliographies of reviews, articles and status reports were examined to find studies not included in the search. A total of 29 publications were included in this review.

RESULTS: There is no consistent relationship between glomerulations and the diagnosis of bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis. In the reviewed studies we found evidence of the grade of glomerulations changing with time. Furthermore, many studies showed no link between the severity of symptoms and the number of glomerulations. There were studies that found glomerulations in healthy asymptomatic populations as well as in symptomatic populations with another primary diagnosis. One study showed no glomerulations in an asymptomatic population.

CONCLUSIONS: We found no convincing evidence in the reviewed literature that glomerulations should be included in the diagnosis or phenotyping of bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis. Glomerulations do not correlate with symptoms and are found in patients without bladder pain syndrome/interstitial cystitis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of urology
Volume195
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
ISSN0022-5347
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Cystitis, Interstitial, Hemorrhage, Humans, Journal Article, Review

ID: 48335487