Objective. Bladder augmentation using intestinal segments is reported to cause decreased linear growth in bladder exstrophy and myelomeningocele patients. We studied changes in calcium metabolism, height, bone chemistry, and bone density in exstrophy and myelomeningocele patients after bladder augmentation.

Methods. Thirty-three patients were prospectively admitted to the Pediatric Clinical Research Center at the University of California San Francisco for 24 hours. Blood and urine were analyzed for electrolytes, and serum was obtained for markers of calcium metabolism. Dual radiograph bone densitometry of the forearm was performed. Myelomeningocele patients were compared with nonaugmented myelomeningocele patients matched by age, gender, level of defect, and ambulatory status. Exstrophy augmented patients were compared with nonaugmented exstrophy patients. The bone densities in both groups were compared with normal children. Laboratory values and percentile heights were statistically analyzed using the Student t test; bone densitometry was analyzed using the Tukey test.

Results. Twenty-two patients with myelomeningocele and 11 with bladder exstrophy were studied. Mean follow-up was 3.7 years postaugmentation (range: 1–13 years). The results indicate a significant difference in serum bicarbonate and chloride levels between myelomeningocele patients who underwent ileal augmentation and those who did not. Although this may be indicative of chronic metabolic acidosis, there was no affect on growth or bone density when compared with controls. There were no other significant differences in laboratory values, or percentile heights, nor were any differences noted in patients who underwent gastrocystoplasty. In the exstrophy group, there were no observable differences in percentile height or laboratory values between the augmented and nonaugmented group. There were no significant differences in bone density between these 2 groups when matched for age and gender. No significant difference was seen in bone density when these groups were compared with normal children.

Conclusion. Bladder augmentation is safe and does not impact negatively on the linear growth or bone densities of patients with myelomeningocele or bladder exstrophy.

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