Will I have symptoms after mid-urethral sling injury? Open Source to the Rescue!

Mid-urethral sling surgery has played a prominent role in litigation and media in recent years. Gynecologists perform mid-urethral sling surgery for stress urinary incontinence, aka when a little bit of urine leaks out when you cough or laugh. You can learn more about urinary incontinence and mid-urethral slings here. One of the biggest problems with the mid-urethral sling procedure is that we are unable to predict which women undergoing the procedure will have a good outcome and which women will have negative side effects.

Dr. Jelovsek and his colleagues from the Cleveland Clinic created a prediction model for just this very question (study link here). Using data from a large randomized trial of 597 women they made statistical models to predict different outcomes. The four outcomes they predicted were (1) bothersome stress urinary incontinence, (2) a positive urine stress test, (3) bothersome urgency urinary incontinence, and (4) any adverse event a year after the sling surgery. The authors then tested their first models using data from three other large trials with a total of 902 women.

The authors were successful in creating predictive models using variables like age, race, parity, and answers to questions about urination, such as whether a woman has frequent urination, whether her activity is limited by urinary leakage, and whether her emotional health is limited by urinary leakage. Users can calculate their predicted values of these four outcomes using Cleveland Clinic’s online calculator on their website rcalc.CCF.org or via the direct link here.

What a great example of open sourcing the knowledge that was generated from medical research so that it may benefit everyone!