South African Medical Journal
Volume 105, Issue 4
Background. Schistosomiasis is a chronic disease caused by infection with parasitic worms of the genus Schistosoma. In sub-Saharan Africa, infections with S. haematobium are most common. Cystoscopic examination (CE) has been accepted as the gold-standard test for detecting the late manifestations of schistosomiasis, including urothelial cancer of the bladder. However, this procedure is invasive and 10 - 40% of tumours may remain undetected. A non-invasive examination and a new generation of biomarkers are needed for better monitoring of the disease.
Objective. To assess the usefulness of ultrasound (US) scans for monitoring of structural urinary tract disease by local public health services in areas of Angola in which urogenital schistosomiasis is endemic.
Methods. A cohort of 80 S. haematobium-infected patients was selected in order to compare changes in the bladder wall detected by US with those observed on CE.
Results. There was a notable correlation between the findings observed on CE and US. Patients with lesions of the bladder mucosa such as neoplasms, ulcers or granulomas detected by CE also had changes in bladder wall thickness on US. The results support increased use of portable ultrasound machines for non-invasive examination of the bladder by local general practitioners.
Conclusion. US examination should be an integral part of the investigation of haematuria and used in all S. haematobium control programmes. General practitioners may find it useful for more accurate diagnosis of haematuria and to identify bladder wall alterations in both adults and children in schistosomiasis-endemic regions.
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Santos, J., Chaves, J., Araújo, H., Vale, N., Costa, J. M., Brindley, P. J., . . . Santos, L. L. (2015). Comparison of findings using ultrasonography and cystoscopy in urogenital schistosomiasis in a public health centre in rural Angola. South African Medical Journal, 105(4), 312-315.