No previous study has used a data-driven approach to explore symptom subclasses among patients with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). The objectives of this study were to use latent class analysis (LCA) to identify distinct classes of LUTS among primary care patients and to assess the class differences in health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
In this cross-sectional study, 500 patients were randomly recruited, and 18 symptoms according to the International Continence Society 2002 criteria were assessed. Classes were identified by LCA. Patient HRQOL was measured using the 12-item Short Form Health Survey (version 2), the modified Incontinence Impact Questionnaire-Short Form and the HRQOL item from the International Prostate Symptom Score.
Six distinct LUTS classes were identified: “asymptomatic” (26.0%), “mild symptoms” (22.6%), “moderate multiple symptoms” (17.0%), “urgency symptoms” (13.8%), “urinary incontinence” (12.0%) and “severe multiple symptoms” (8.6%). Multinomial regression analysis found differences in the gender distribution and prevalence of heart diseases across classes, and multiple linear regression found that patients with “severe multiple symptoms” and “urinary incontinence” had the poorest HRQOL.
Almost three quarters of the primary care patients in this study were suffering from varying degrees of LUTS. The poor HRQOL in “severe multiple symptoms” and “urinary incontinence” implies that patients in these classes require additional attention and treatments.