Editorial: A Novel, Non-Invasive Approach to Diagnosing Urinary Tract Obstruction Using CFD

Author:  Alexander Patananan

Institution:  UCLA
Date:  May 2008

Urinary retention (ischuria), commonly known as a urinary tract obstruction, is one of the most common medical problems seen today, and is characterized primarily by the inability to urinate. There are various causes of urinary tract obstructions, ranging from kidney, ureteral, and bladder stones, to congenital defects, tissue scaring because of infection or surgery, in addition to various forms of cancers. Because a large percentage of individuals will experience obstruction during their lifetimes, much research has focused on developing efficient and cost effective ways of diagnosing this problem. Currently, diagnosis techniques are based on ultrasonography computed tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging technologies. However, these methods are not only very expensive and time consuming, but also yield results that are often low in resolution due to hardware limitations and signal noise. Furthermore, some techniques, such as urodynamic studies and endoscopic procedures, require invasive surgical procedures. Therefore, a new inexpensive, non-invasive way of diagnosing obstructions is needed.

In their publication, "A Novel, non-invasive approach to diagnosing urinary tract obstruction using CFD," undergraduate researcher Nirmish Singla (University of Michigan, Department of Biomedical Engineering), and his mentors Ajay Singla (Wayne State University, Department of Urology) and John Sang Lee (Wayne State University, Department of Mechanical Engineering), investigated, for the first time, the potential application of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in the diagnosis of urinary tract obstructions. Their results showed that CFD is comparable in accuracy to current diagnostic methods, while also being cost effective and less traumatic on the patient. If you would like to read more on the topic of urinary tract obstructions, please visit www.jyi.org to see their complete publication in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Young Investigators.