Tag Archive for: Twitter


Give the pill, or not give the pill. SUSPEND tries to end the debate

Christopher BayneJune 2015 #UROJC Summary

News of a landmark paper on medical expulsive therapy (MET) for ureteric colic swirled through the convention halls on the last day of the American Urological Association’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. I watched the Twitter feeds evolve from my desk at home: the first tweets just mentioned the title, then the conclusion, followed by snippets about the abstract. As time passed and people had time to read the manuscript, discussion escalated. Without data to prove it, there seemed to be more Twitter chatter about the SUSPEND trial, even among conference attendees, than the actual AUA sessions.

Robert Pickard and Samuel McClinton’s group utilized a “real-world” study design to publish what many urologists consider to be the “best data” on MET. The study (SUSPEND) randomized 1167 participants with a single 1-10 mm calculi in the proximal, mid, or distal ureter across 24 UK hospitals to 1:1:1 MET with daily tamsulosin 0.4 mg, nifedipine 30 mg, or placebo. The study’s primary outcome was the need for intervention at 4 weeks after randomization. Secondary outcomes assessed via follow-up surveys were analgesic use, pain, and time to stone passage. Though the outcomes were evaluated at 4 weeks after randomization, patients were followed out to 12 weeks.

Some of the study design minutiae are worth specific mention before discussing the results and #urojc chat:

  • Treatment allotment was robustly blinded. Participants were handed 28 days of unmarked over-encapsulated medication by sources uninvolved in the remaining portions of the study
  • Medication compliance was not verified
  • The study protocol didn’t mandate additional imaging or tests at any point
  • Participants weren’t asked to strain their urine
  • Secondary outcomes assessed by follow-up surveys were incomplete: 62 and 49% of participants completed the 4- and 12-week questionnaires, respectively

The groups were well balanced, and the results were nullifying. A similar percentage of tamsulosin- , nifedipine-, and placebo-group patients did not require intervention (81%, 80%, and 80%, respectively). A similar percentage of tamsulosin-, nifedipine-, and placebo-group participants had interventions planned at 12 weeks (7%, 6%, and 8%). There were no differences in secondary outcomes, including stone passage. There was a trend toward significance for MET, specifically with tamsulosin, in women, calculi >5 mm, and calculi located in the lower ureter (see image taken from Figure 2).

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The authors concluded their paper was iron-clad with results that don’t need replication.

“Our judgment is that the results of our trial provide conclusive evidence that the effect of both tamsulosin and nifedipine in increasing the likelihood of stone passage as measured by the need for intervention is close to zero. Our trial results suggest that these drugs, with a 30-day cost of about US$20 (£13; €18), should not be offered to patients with ureteric colic managed expectantly, giving providers of health care an opportunity to reallocate resources elsewhere. The precision of our result, ruling out any clinically meaningful benefit, suggests that further trials involving these agents for increasing spontaneous stone passage rates will be futile. Additionally, subgroup analyses did not suggest any patient or stone characteristics predictive of benefit from MET.”

Much of the early discussion focused on the trend toward benefit for MET in cases of calculi >5 mm in the distal ureter:

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Journal Club participants raised eyebrows to the use of nifedipine and placebo medication in the trial:

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A few hours in, discussion shifted toward the study design, particularly the primary endpoint of absence of intervention at 4 weeks rather than stone passage or radiographic endpoints. The overall consensus was that that this study was a microcosm of “real world” patient care with direct implications for emergency physicians, primary physicians, and urologists.

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The $20 question (cost of 4 weeks of tamsulosin according to SUSPEND) is whether or not the trial will change urologists’ practice patterns. Perhaps not surprisingly, opinions differed between American and European urologists.

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We owe SUSPEND authors Robert Pickard and Sam McClinton special thanks for their availability during the discussion. In the end, the #urojc banter for June 2015 was the largest and most-interactive monthly installment of International Urology Journal Club to date.

June urojc 26Christopher Bayne is a PGY-4 urology resident at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC and tweets @chrbayne.


#AUA15 bursts to life in New Orleans

CaptureCreole cuisine, bustling Bourbon street, beads and beignets and 16,000 urologists.  #AUA15 has just drawn to a close in the birthplace of Jazz; New Orleans, Louisiana #NOLA. With 2,598 abstracts being presented, over 2,500 speakers and representation from more than 100 countries it was undoubtedly an educational and action packed five days.

This was my first AUA and while I knew it was going to be a big conference I was stunned by the size of it all. There were urologists everywhere, so much so that jiving to jazz on Frenchman became a game of ‘spot the urologist’ by the signature urology dance moves and stylish….ish dress code!!!! The scientific programme was so extensive it was difficult to find the time to attend all the sessions I wanted to. However, the committee deserve huge credit for developing the AUA2015 app and Daily news snippets that were available throughout the centre which made it easy to optimise your time at the meeting.

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The French Quarter, NOLA

The conference got off to a heated beginning with the Crossfire: Controversies in Urology session sparking plenty of debate. Few topics have ignited as much argument as the question of focal ablation for prostate cancer and the discussion between Mark Emberton MD, UCL, London and Aaron E. Katz, MD,PhD, Winthrop University Hospital was no different. To call it a lively session is an understatement. The question of alpha blockers being sold over the counter for BPH was also discussed during this session. Although the drugs have proven safe over the last 25 years clinicians have concerns that the loss of patient contact as a result of this relabeling would causes a loss of control in the treatment of men with BPH.

Friday drew to a close with the urotwitterati enjoying the social media TweetUp encouraging newbie tweeters to get involved. It clearly worked because #AUA15 set a new record and almost trebled it’s tweeting volume since #AUA13.

Day two, Saturday saw the opening of the Science and Technology hall. A spectacle of testicular, penile devices and stalls I have never seen. I fear what one might have thought had they stumbled into the conference centre by accident!!

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The @BJUIJournal #SoMe awards took place on Saturday evening. @DrHWoo deservedly bagged The Social Media Award 2015 for #UROJC. A well chosen venue there were no issues with Wifi for tweeting!!! Read the #SoMe blog for all award details

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Enjoying the @BJUIjournal cult #SoMe awards

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A personal favourite of mine at the conference was the 4th annual Residents Bowl which took place over three days; with residents engaging in a battle of the brains! Northeastern claimed the trophy in the end and team members on the winning side included this year’s BAUS representative @DerekHennessey.

BAUS, BJUI and USANZ came together on Sunday afternoon for a stellar line-up of speakers and topics. The session was well attended and speakers outlined the most recent data but more importantly shared the experience of techniques and outcomes in their centres and countries. I think this combined society session is a fantastic arena for all to both learn and educate each other on what is working best, where and why? The superb line up included Dan Moon, Jeremy Grummet, Henry Woo, Declan Murphy, David Nicol, Damien Bolton, Stephen Boorjian and Philip D. Stricker who all shared their clinical expertise.
BJUI Guest speaker Ben Challacombe discussed the evidence base for management of RCC by partial nephrectomy. Lower intraoperative complications and WIT were observed at their centre at Guy’s Hospital London, which is similarly reflected by low complication rates in the BAUS mandatory UK national nephrectomy audit. Professor Prokar Dasgupta started his up and down journey for the evidence supporting robotic cystectomy for TCC bladder by reminiscing on where it all began; kite-flying in India as a young boy.

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Much anticipated CORAL trial found that 90 day complication rates and oncological control were comparable in ORC v LRC/RARC.

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Finally the session closed with the presentation of the Coffey-Krane award to Gopa Iyer; Phase III Study of  everolimus in metastatic urothelial cancer collected on Dr Gopa’s behalf by David Quinlan. This award is for trainees who are based in the Americas and judged by a panel as the best publication accepted to the BJUI.


Overall, some of the big points of the conference were the amendments to AUA guidelines including Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer, which was updated from just last year. Perhaps, the most significant was the first ever draft of AUA Peyronie’s disease guidelines; outlining recommendations from medical therapy to surgery.

The huge rise in social media at urology conferences was demonstrated again by record-breaking figures via @symplur showing that the use of Twitter among the urology community continues to grow:

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#AUA15 was both an educational and social experience. I had a blast, learned loads and also got to experience the culinary delights of Muffuletta and Gumbo, take the trolley up St. Charles to the Garden district and simply encounter the warmth and friendliness of both the Louisiana folk and the huge family of Urology. The AUA Scientific Committee deserve a huge congratulations on the success of a stimulating, enjoyable and extensive scientific programme. I know I heard echoes of ‘best AUA yet’ in my company.

Áine Goggins

Medical Student; Queens University Belfast, Ireland



The 3rd BJUI Social Media Awards – #AUA15 in New Orleans

Murphy-2015-BJU_InternationalWhat a fun destination we had for the 3rd Annual BJUI Awards! As you may know, we alternate the occasion of these awards between the annual congresses of the American Urological Association (AUA) and of the European Association of Urology (EAU). Our first awards ceremony took place at the AUA in San Diego in 2013, followed last year in Stockholm at the EAU. This year, we descended on New Orleans, Louisiana to join the 16,000 or so other delegates attending the AUA Annual Meeting and to enjoy all that the “Big Easy” had to offer. What a fun city; a true melting pot of food, music and culture all borne out of the eclectic French, American and African cultures on show. I think I met more key opinion leaders in the clubs on Frenchman Street than I did in some of the prostate cancer poster sessions!










You can read more about all that in our #AUA15 Conference Highlights blog, so on now to the Awards. The AUA Annual Meeting plays host to intense social media activity and it is fitting that the BJUI Social Media Awards gets to acknowledge the rapidly growing number of Uro-Twitterati in attendance. Over 100 of the most prominent tweeters turned up to the Ritz-Carlton to enjoy the hospitality of the BJUI and to hear who would be recognised in the 2015 BJUI Social Media Awards. Individuals and organisations were recognised across 16 categories including the top gong, The BJUI Social Media Award 2015, awarded to an individual, organization or innovation who has made an outstanding contribution to social media in urology in the preceding year. The 2013 Award was won by the outstanding Urology Match portal, followed in 2014 by Dr Stacy Loeb for her outstanding contributions.  This year our Awards Committee consisted of members of the BJUI Editorial Board (Declan Murphy, Prokar Dasgupta, Matt Bultitude as well as BJUI Managing Editor Scott Millar whose team in London drive the content across our social platforms).





















The full list of awardees, along with some examples of “best practice” in the urology social media sphere can be found on this Prezi. The winners are also listed here:


  • Most Read [email protected] – “Are you ready to go to prison on a manslaughter charge?”. Accepted by Dr Ben Challacombe, on behalf of Prof Roger Kirby, London, UK
  • Most Commented [email protected] – “Prof John Fitzpatrick – Life in the Fast Lane”. Accepted by Dr Ben Challacombe, on behalf of Prof Roger Kirby, London, UK
  • Best Blog Comment – Dr Brian Stork, Michigan, USA
  • Best BJUI Tube Video – Hospital volume and conditional 90 day post-cystectomy mortality. – accepted by Dr Angie Smith on behalf of Dr Matt Neilsen, North Carolina, USA.
  • Best Urology Conference for Social Media – SIU Annual Congress, Glasgow 2014. Accepted by Dr Sanjay Kulkarni on behalf of the SIU
  • Best Social Media Campaign – Dr Ben Davies, Pittsburgh, USA, for highlighting industry issues around BCG shortage
  • “Did You Really Tweet That” Award – Ben Davies, Pittsburgh, USA (three years running!)
  • Best Urology App – The Rotterdam Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator. Accepted by Dr Stacy Loeb on behalf of Dr Monique Roobol, ERSPC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Innovation Award 2015 – #eauguidelines. Accepted by EAU Guidelines panellists Dr Stacy Loeb and Dr Morgan Roupret, on behalf of Dr James N’Dow, Dr Maria Ribal, and the EAU Guidelines Committee.
  • #UroJC Award – David Canes, Boston, USA
  • Best Selfie – Morgan Rouprêt, Paris, France
  • Best Urology Facebook Site – European Association of Urology. Accepted by Dr Alex Kutikov, Digital Media Editor, European Urology
  • Best Urology Journal for Social Media – Nature Reviews Urology. Accepted by Editor-in-Chief, Annette Fenner
  • Best Urology Organisation – American Urological Association. Accepted by Taylor Titus, AUA Communications Office
  • The BJUI Social Media Award 2015 – International Urology Journal Club #urojc. Accepted by Dr Henry Woo, Sydney, Australia.


Most of the Award winners were present to collect their awards themselves, including the omnipresent Dr Henry Woo who received our top gong for his work on the very successful International Urology Journal Club #urojc. The #urojc now has over 3000 followers and its monthly, asynchronous 48hr global journal club has become a huge event. Many other specialties and #FOAMed resources have recognised #urojc and BJUI are delighted to publish a blog summarising each month’s discussions. Well done to Henry, Mike Leveridge and others in setting and maintaining this outstanding example of social media adding real value.

A special thanks to our outstanding BJUI team at BJUI in London, Scott Millar and Max Cobb, who manage our social media and website activity as well as the day-to-day running of our busy journal.

See you all in Munich for #EAU16 where we will present the 4th BJUI Social Media Awards ceremony!

Declan Murphy

Associate Editor for Social Media at BJUI. Urologist in Melbourne, Australia

Follow Declan on Twitter @declangmurphy and BJUI @BJUIjournal


Urologists in the Yellow Submarine – a Periscope to the World

henry-woo_smOver the last few weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about a new Social Media platform. Just when you thought that we had exhausted all possible ways that people could interact online, live video streaming is the talk of the town.

Last month, two competing live video streaming apps were launched.  Meerkat initially gained popularity quite rapidly, particularly through Twitter, given the ease and immediacy of being able to share your live video streaming with twitter followers. Twitter acquired its competitor, Periscope, and Meerkat’s access to the twitter followers was cut off no sooner than it had began. Already there are arguments as to which of the two platforms are better but I can already sense from user reactions and expert opinion, that Periscope will be the one that will prevail. The might of Twitter will be very difficult to compete with.

Why on earth would urologists be interested in live broadcasts? The obvious application is live streaming of events such as conferences. The default option is perform a public broadcast and this will have particular value when there is an advocacy focus. There is also an option to broadcast privately only to followers of the Periscope account performing the broadcast. The latter may well be the best option for more sensitive material but there are still issues that need to be sorted out.  In particular, there is no simple mechanism to determine which followers should be permitted to follow the broadcasting account in order to see a private live stream. It is inevitable that this will be simplified in the future, as it would be logical for this platform to find a mechanism to attract business users.

As things are at present, one needs to have a twitter account in order to sign on to broadcast using Periscope. This platform is designed for the mobile user – this is both for broadcasting and for watching the live stream.  Attempting to do this on a desktop or laptop website is cumbersome and clumsy from my initial attempts to do so whereas the iOS App was straightforward and intuitive, particularly for those already familiar with the Twitter app.




Note the similarity of the iOS Periscope App with the Twitter App interface.

It is my belief that the first ever Periscope live stream broadcast from a medical conference was performed on Sunday 12 April 2015 at the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand’s (USANZ) Annual Scientific Meeting. Declan Murphy used Periscope to broadcast a message from Prokar Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief of the BJUI Journal.   The video from the Periscope live stream is below. This first, at least for a urological conference, was tweeted by Declan Murphy.



A couple of hours later, I performed a live video stream from the Social Media session when Imogen Patterson gave an excellent presentation on managing our online reputations. During the feed, observers are able to make comments as well as to demonstrate their approval by tapping their screens to trigger a flow of hearts from the bottom right hand corner of the screen.


This is a screenshot from an unrelated live video feed. From the bottom left, the user is notified of those joining the observation of the feed as well as comments. From the bottom right, hearts float upwards in response to positive taps of the screen by watchers.

There are a few issues with Periscope as it is right now. The feed is only available for 24 hours before disappearing from the Periscope platform, however, a video recording minus the comments and hearts, can be stored in the photo stream on your mobile device. As mentioned before, you must have a twitter account to broadcast although you do not need one to view a broadcast. Thirdly, directed broadcasting should be simplified.

Social media platforms come and go but the ability to live stream is an exciting new development. For Periscope, it is my belief that the potential application for a use in medical education seems boundless. Live broadcasting is no longer the exclusive domain of television and cable networks.


Henry Woo (@drhwoo) is Associate Professor of Surgery at the Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School of the University of Sydney. He is the Editor-in-Chief of BJUI Knowledge, an innovative on-line CME portal that launches this year.


SoMe Guidelines in Urology: #urojc August 2014 summary

The August 2014 twitter-based international urology journal club (#urojc) took an introspective look at the newly published European Association of Urology recommendations on the appropriate use of social media.

This month’s article hit close to home as a panel of international urologists (many who are active on Twitter and #urojc) attempted to bring social media (SoMe) to the general public of urologists with some basic guidelines on effective, safe and honest communication. The article described the various social networks frequently used by physicians, highlighted some benefits of SoMe involvement, and pointed out the possible risks of SoMe. Recommendation statements emphasized clear, confidentiality, refraining from self-promotion, limits on patient-physician interaction and caution in engaging in SoMe.

From the start, it was evident that this was not a fluff piece and there was discussion to be had:


@CBayneMD started it off with concern about the recommendation to keep personal and professional content separate. Many argued that adding something personal kept the communication more interesting and reminded readers that behind the online persona is a person.


Good arguments were made on both sides. Using different SoMe outlets for personal and professional posts may make it easier to keep it appropriate.


The guideline section on refraining from self-promotion was generally well accepted, though some clarification was called for.


Another criticism was of the group of EAU panelists chosen to write the guideline. An excellent choice was made to include the twitter handles of the guidelines authors in the byline.


Several of the authors are undoubtedly SoMe experts.


@wandering_gu, one of the authors, defended the decision to include authors with varied levels of SoMe experience.

A common twitter disclaimer, amongst physicians, “RT (retweets) are not E (endorsements)” may or may not be worth much.

…but may be necessary, nonetheless.

@Dr_RPM summarizes the message of this guideline document.

Whether or not you agree with the EAU SoMe guidelines or the previously published BJUI SoMe Guidelines, it’s clear that SoMe in medicine, and especially urology, is an important part of the future. We should all continue to be thoughtful in our involvement with SoMe and encourage our friends and colleagues to participate. Thank you all for another exciting discussion. Make sure to keep an eye on @iurojc and #urojc for next month’s International Urology Journal Club!


Parth K. Modi is a PGY-4 urology resident at Rutgers-RWJMS in New Brunswick, NJ. He has an interest in urologic oncology, robotics and bioethics and tweets @marthpodi.


Social Media and Twitter from a Resident’s Perspective

“Happy Twitterversary! You’ve just turned 1”

Really? As I stared bleary eyed, post-call at the email in my inbox I couldn’t believe what an ingenious idea such an email was (how many of us remember the day we started using Twitter?) and that another year as a resident (albeit on Twitter) was behind me.

No question I was a “slow adapter” to social media, in particular Twitter – it was too reactionary, I was too busy, it would take up too much time. I can’t remember how or why I was persuaded, but curiosity led to me to create a Twitter account in the middle of the night while waiting to put up a ureteral stent. Immediately my perception and the time frame in which I obtained information completely changed. I started adding accounts for sports and news outlets and…..urologists and urology journals. Who knew?!

Over the past year, I’ve become more comfortable and engaged with Twitter. As a resident, there are a number of opportunities and a few challenges associated with navigating and managing a successful and educational Twitter experience.


1) World-wide collaborations with leaders in the field who may otherwise be “less accessible” – as a resident, this may be THE most important aspect of Twitter. For those of us pursuing fellowship, building research connections, etc., being able to have access to and follow program directors and leaders in urology is invaluable.

2) Centralization for notifications of publications that are recently in press – as an aspiring urologic oncologist and academician, this is very helpful. BJU International (@BJUIjournal), the Journal of Urology (@JUrology), European Urology (@EUplatinum), Urology Match (@UrologyMatch) and UroToday.com (@urotoday) are personally a few of the most active and informative accounts I follow.

3) Connected at meetings – the ability to be “everywhere”! Getting updates from multiple concurrent sessions has changed the way I attend meetings. AUA 2014 this past year in Orlando was my first meeting on Twitter – to be able to keep up to date on concurrent sessions while contributing to the session I was attending, enhanced and broadened my learning experience.

Drs. Tim Averch, Benjamin Davies, Stacy Loeb, Brian Stork , Henry Woo, Matt Cooperberg, Declan Murphy (Not pictured, Dr. Christopher Bayne). American Urological Association Social Media Committee – See more at: https://www.drbrianstork.com/blog/medical-student-perspective-aua14/



4) Quick hit knowledge “tidbits” – what immediately comes to mind is the evolution of the International Urology Journal Club. This has been very useful and has changed the social media landscape for international, real-time, educational discussions.

Like everything with being a resident, Twitter takes time. However, whether we are walking to a meeting, waiting in the OR, riding the elevator, there are opportunities throughout the day to stay involved and engaged. While I may occasionally miss out on discussions, such as the 48 hours of Urology Journal Club (which may just happen to correspond with a call week), one can always use hashtags (ie. #urojc) to go back and catch up on the banter and knowledge shared.

Personally, I have yet to encounter my attendings expressing concern about what I’m Tweeting or how I’m engaging in social media. To my knowledge, residents are not receiving any formal training or best practice training in social media during residency.  As Twitter continues to evolve and the field of Urology continues to lead the medical foray into Twitter, a resident “social media ethics seminar” may be something the AUA considers during the national meeting. Perhaps this may be held in conjunction with the Twitter training sessions at the AUA Resource Center and may take into consideration the recent Engaging Responsibly with Social Media: the BJUI Guidelines and the EAU Recommendations. As importantly, medical students interested in Urology should be aware of their online profiles displayed on social networking websites, considering that program directors are increasingly utilizing this avenue to further evaluate residency applicants.

Until then, we may all consider sticking to the advice of ESPN Radio personality Colin CowherdSocial media: Don’t do it after a cocktail or in your underwear.”


Zach Klaassen is a Resident in the Department of Surgery, Section of Urology Georgia Regents University – Medical College of Georgia Augusta, USA. @zklaassen_md


AUA 2014 – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: “The Tweeter’s Congress”

Thanks to @rmehrazin and @uroncdoc for a great summary of the first three days of #AUA14. This year’s meeting has been a phenomenal success, especially with regards to Twitter use during the Congress and the dissemination of content surrounding the meeting. You know how it goes – ‘sorry I can’t catch your session because I have to be somewhere else’. Well not anymore. Keep the #AUA14 search feed on your Twitter app, and the stream of information on posters/podiums or plenary was tremendous! One could be at multiple sessions at the same time. Indeed, Twitter use compared to last year’s meeting has increased by over 100%. Just as Tony Blair coined the term ‘the people’s Princess’ for Princess Diana – I am calling #AUA14 ‘the Tweeter’s congress’. In honour of that, I have created ‘Twitter-grams’ around themes. As the conference has too much to cover, I will concentrate on the big plenary sessions.

Twitter-gram 2: PCNL

Further plenary included the EAU lecture by Mr Marcus Drake on the management of LUTS. He announced the protocol of a European RCT enrolling 800 patients assessing invasive urodynamics versus noninvasive tests in men undergoing surgery for bladder outlet obstruction. This was followed by Dr Quentin Clemens, from @umichurology and Chair of the multidisciplinary approach to the study of chronic pelvic pain (MAPP) network. The objectives of this impressive multi-institutional study are to address underlying disease pathophysiology and natural history utilizing patient cohorts, biospecimens and animal models, as well as provide new information to inform patient management and future clinical trial design. More details can be found here.

The plenary then wrapped up with a discussion of the new AUA guidelines from Dr Morey on urotrauma and Dr Pearle on medical management of stone disease. Both can be viewed here:

Medical management of kidney stones

Some important points from the urotrauma guidelines:

  1. Imaging is necessary – immediate and delayed
  2. Indications for renal trauma imaging include gross hematuria, microscopic hematuria and systolic blood pressure <90, or mechanism of injury suggest high index of suspicion.
  3. Stable patients be managed non-invasively
  4. For renal injuries Grade 4 or greater – follow-up imaging is advised
  5. For ureteral trauma, immediate repair is indicated if complete injury and recognized in the operating room
  6. In unstable patients, ureteral trauma can be managed with temporary urinary drainage
  7. In presence of gross hematuria and pelvic fracture – patient must have cystography

Some important points from the medical management guidelines:

  1. Thiazides are indicated in patients with recurrent calcium stones and hypercalciuria
  2. Potassium-citrate therapy should be offered to patients with hypocitraturia and recurrent calcium stones
  3. In patients with recurrent calcium stones and absence of metabolic abnormalities, both thiazides and potassium citrate should be offered
  4. Allopurinol should be prescribed to patients with recurrent calcium stones elevated urinary uric acid and normal urinary calcium. It should not routinely be prescribed as first line therapy for patients with uric acid stones
  5. In terms of follow-up, a 24 hour urine collection should be performed within 6 months of initiating treatment and at least annually thereafter

Monday – Townhall session

The ‘townhall’ session this year contained urology and non-urology experts who were questioned by the audience via text messages (but not Twitter! @AmerUrological). This session was moderated by Dr Inderbir Gill, and included experts from Hollywood on 3D imaging, a neuroscientist, molecular imaging scientists and surgical simulation pioneers. The session began with a talk on tissue level imaging in 3D, followed by Dr Tewari (@nycrobotics) introducing us to his research on visualizing nerves during robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. Dr Narula, Editor of the Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging, then gave a fascinating talk on “Who gets the Heart Attack? Imaging from Bench to Bedside and from Mummies to Population”. At the end of his talk, I had a strong urge to get my cholesterol checked as well as demand a CT angiogram. The simulation debate was entitled – “The giants of the past don’t need no stinkin’ simulators” – and was between Dr Carl Olsson (Against simulation) and Dr Robert Sweet (For). Dr Olsson was the man with all the right jokes, while Dr Sweet’s slides malfunctioned; although it was clear to the audience that in this era of reduced hours training, simulated surgical training is becoming the norm. Finally, only at the AUA meeting can you get the team behind 3D rendering for Hollywood provide an insight into the methodology of rendering. We all put on 3D glasses and watched a short clip of the film “Need for speed” in glorious 3D.

Tuesday – plenary

The morning began with a panel discussion between some very well known urologists on robotic vs. open robotic cystectomy. First on, Dr Hautmann argued against robotic cystectomy: “Optimal function was more important than the length of the incision or time to flatus”. He also argued there was a selection bias in robotic series, with healthier patients tending to be selected for robotic surgery. He closed by quoting Einstein: “make things as simple as possible but not simpler than that”.

Next was Dr Pruthi, an expert on robotic cystectomy. He felt the benefit of a robotic intracorporeal diversion was fewer GI complications, readmissions, and the potential to reduce ureteral stricture because of less ureteral mobilization with the robotic approach. While the ileal conduit robotically was simple and straightforward, he admitted he was unsure of robotic neobladders as this was more complex. The session closed with a frank statement by Dr Jay Smith, “It is unlikely any substantial difference in outcome will emerge between robotic vs open cystectomy”. However, he felt robotics was here to stay, as it was doubtful if the next generation of urologists would have the skills to obtain high-level open cystectomy results.

The plenary then resumed with the theme on PSA testing, and started with a panel discussion on tests to distinguish aggressive from non-aggressive prostate cancer before biopsy. Dr John Wei (@jtwei88) from @umichurology, spoke about the Michigan Prostate Score (MiPS) – a composite score consisting of three tests: PSA, urine T2:ERG gene fusion, and urine PCA3 level. Later on, to a jam jam-packed hall, Dr Penson (@urogeek), from Vanderbilt, delivered a state-of-the-art lecture on PSA testing guidelines. This excellent talk generated lots of Twitter traffic, which is illustrated in the Twitter-gram.

Wednesday – take home messages and wrap-up

The final day was not as busy as the other days as most delegates and all exhibitors had left. I too had to get back to work, but I was still able to catch up with #AUA14 via the twittersphere (thanks @chrisfilson). The best of the tweets from this last day are depicted in the final twitter-gram. I also recommend @cbayneMD for his top 5 conference highlights.

[caption id=”attachment_15430″ align=”alignnone” width=”1024′ label=’ Twitter-gram 4: final day

Overall, #AUA14 has been a fantastic conference, where records were set for Twitter participation and engagement in a urological meeting. I am still recovering!

Khurshid Ghani
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA


Social media traffic broke all records at #AUA14 with over 1100 participants sending over 10,000 tweets and making almost 14 million digital impressions.


Ejaculatory Function and Treatment for Male LUTS due to BPH

This month’s twitter-based international urology journal club discussed “Impact of Medical Treatments for Male LUTS due to BPH on Ejaculatory Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”, published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The discussion was enriched by the participation of Asst. Prof. Giacomo Novara (@giacomonovara) of the University of Padua, the senior author of the paper.

There was general consensus that this was a well constructed paper addressing an important and sometimes neglected side-effect of a group of medications that most urologists use commonly. The principal messages of the paper were:

  1. Ejaculatory dysfunction (EjD) was significantly more common with alphablockers (ABs) in general than placebo
  2. This effect was mainly seen with selective ABs (tamsulosin and sildosin). Non-selective ABs (doxazosin and terazosin) had similar rates of EjD to placebo.
  3. Finasteride and dutasteride both cause EjD, and to a similar extent as each other.
  4. Combination therapy (5ARI + AB) resulted in a three-fold increase in EjD compared to either monotherapy

The authors were congratulated on the amount of work that had obviously gone into the analysis. There was a discussion of some of the technical aspects of how to conduct a systematic review (SR) and meta-analysis. The PRISMA guidelines are a mandatory standard, and are recommended to anyone considering undertaking one. @LoebStacy also recommended the Cochrane handbook as a useful source of info. @DrHWoo asked whether Jadad scores had been used to rate RCT quality. They were not used in this study, but are one method of assessing RCT quality for an SR. @chrisfilson and @jleow advocated the Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for risk of bias assessment (found in Section 8.5 of the handbook), as an alternative.

After the technical aspects, discussion focussed on how best to avoid EjD in men who are concerned about it. @linton_kate asked whether PDE5 inhibitors were an option in this regard. General consensus was that they are an option, especially where LUTS and erectile dysfunction (ED) coexist, but concerns were expressed about the cost (which varied country by country, but is generally far in excess of the cost of ABs) and by @nickbrookMD about the uncertainty surrounding their mechanism of action for LUTS improvement.

Several correspondants were using PDE5Is in clinical practice for this indication however, including @VMisrai. It was pointed out however, that alfuzosin also offers a reduced risk of EjD compared to other ABs, and is substantially less expensive than PDE5Is. Alfuzosin was not evaluated in this paper, however @giacomonovara agreed that it was an option in men with LUTS who wish to avoid EjD, especially where ED is not a concern. @DrHWoo pointed out the Rosen data demonstrating the correlation between increasing LUTS and decreasing erectile function, but indeed (as suggested by @JCLinMD) treatment of LUTS, e.g. with an AB, may in itself improve erectile function.

Discussion moved on to 5ARIs. @giacomonovara stated that these agents had a broad spectrum of potential effects on ejaculatory/erectile function. @shomik_S raised the issue of whether 5ARIs could cause irreversible sexual side-effects. This is certainly a medicolegal concern, and undoubtedly some men report persistent effects on libido and sexual function, although a firm causal link has not been established.

The medicolegal theme was further explored with a discussion on what to warn patients of when commencing these medications. All were agreed that patients commencing ABs/5ARIs, including those undergoing medical expulsive therapy for stones should be warned about EjD. There was some discussion however, about whether patients commencing a 5ARI should be warned about the increased rates of high-grade prostate cancer seen in the PCPT and REDUCE trials. This increase may be an artefact of more effective cancer detection, but none-the-less @loebStacy was of the opinion that it should be included in pre-treatment counselling.


But is all the concern about sexual side-effects justified? It was pointed out that many patients are prepared to tolerate sexual side-effects in return for improvement in their LUTS.

Regardless, this paper from @giacomonovara and co-authors provided useful insight and stimulated a valuable discussion. Undoubtedly, some patients are very concerned about EjD and this paper will help all urologists who treat male LUTS to address these concerns.

Winner of the Best Tweet Prize was David Gillatt for his response to the discussion regarding the needs of various nationalities for PDE5I. Special thanks to the SIU for offering a prize of free registration to the 2014 SIU Congress in Glasgow. Also special thanks to Wiley for allowing open access of the article for the May #urojc discussion.

Ben Jackson has completed urological training in the East Midlands, and is now undertaking a fellowship at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. His principal clinical interest is urologic oncology.
Twitter @Ben_L_Jackson


Reaching a consensus…robotic radical cystectomy

What is your impression of a “consensus statement”? We have these periodically in urology and they do tend to get widely read. One wonders, how difficult could it be for a bunch of urologists to reach a consensus on something?? Especially if, at the end of the day, we are all agreeing to cut something out?! It’s not like radiation or doing nothing are on the cards for this particular topic! How difficult could it be?

Well, let me give you a peak into the workings of the robotic-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) Consensus Conference which took place at the City of Hope Hospital in California last weekend, the findings to be known as “The Pasadena Consensus Statement on RARC”. This two-day conference took place in the beautiful foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California, and was hosted by Dr. Tim Wilson, Chief of Urology at City of Hope. The event was co-ordinated by the eminent New England Research Institute, led by Dr. Ray Rosen, and funded by a generous philanthropist affiliated with the hospital. The format of the meeting was familiar, as there has already been a Pasadena Consensus Statement on robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy, which was published in European Urology in 2012 along with four systematic reviews, all of which have been highly-cited. The conference invited a group of leaders in radical cystectomy, open as well as robotic, to participate and the resulting faculty features some highly-published figures in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, including some of the pioneers of RARC. These include:

  • Tim Wilson, City of Hope, California
  • Bernie Bochner, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York
  • Peter Wiklund, Karolinska, Sweden
  • Khurshid Guru, Roswell Park, New York
  • Eila Skinner, Stanford University, California
  • Joan Palou, Fundacio-Puigvert, Barcelona
  • Jim Catto, Editor-in-Chief, European Urology, Sheffield
  • Giacomo Novara, Padua, Italy
  • Bertrand Yuh, City of Hope, California
  • Declan Murphy, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
  • Magnus Annerstedt, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Arnulf Stenzl, Tuebingen, Germany
  • Kevin Chan, City of Hope, California
  • Jim Peabody, Vattikuti Urology Institute, Detroit 

Photo courtesy of Dr Jim Catto.

The goal was to review the current evidence for RARC (by way of systematic reviews and other detailed review), and to agree a “Best Practices” white paper. We had been split into working groups and had submitted slides overviewing our topics ahead of time. The two-day schedule then allowed presentation of these slides with (very) detailed critique and discussion. Systematic review maestro Giacomo Novara had worked with Bertrand Yuh to complete the systematic reviews prior to the conference and findings from these also informed much discussion. Bernie Bochner (the most knowledgeable person I have ever met on the topic of muscle-invasive bladder cancer!), kindly agreed to present the findings from the MSKCC randomised controlled trial which are key data in this area. This paper is about to be submitted so the Pasadena group will be able to include these findings in the final papers.

So was it a cosy chat in the Californian sunshine with much nodding of heads on key topics? Well, occasionally! The group were very sociable with very lively interaction, but there was certainly robust discussion on certain topics. Some of these leaked out on Twitter as one might expect with a few prominent uro-twitterati in the room (@jimcatto, @giacomonovara, @declangmurphy, @joanfundi, @AStenzl, @jamesopeabody), and with a lively response from social media enthusiasts from around the world getting involved in the #RARC conversation (@dytcmd, @@uretericbud, @daviesbj, @dmsomford, @matthayn, @kahmed198, @uroegg, @UROncdoc, @urogill, @urorao, @nickbrookMD, @joshmeeks, @wandering_gu, @urologymatch, @urology_verona, @chrisfilson, @mattbultitude, @clebacle, @chapinMD, @ggandaglia, @urogeek, and more) – every corner of the globe involved!

At certain times, the weight of data for open radical cystectomy was difficult to counter, and led to lively discussion between Bernie and Khurshid. For confidentiality reasons, we can’t reveal key findings until the final papers have been written and published, but Twitter does allow a sneak peak:

A general lament was the lack of high-quality data overall, as tweeted in this quote from Arnulf Stenzl:

However, some of the big publications from the pioneering centres, especially the data from the International Robotic Cystectomy Consortium (IRCC), and the RCT from Memorial have given us plenty to consider.

Having been involved in another large consensus statement recently (The Melbourne Consensus Statement on the Early Detection of Prostate Cancer), I can tell you that these statements feature very robust discussion before consensus is reached, and occasionally consensus is not reached leading to topics being omitted. The chosen faculty for such statements are highly-knowledgeable leaders in the field, but often have views which are highly discordant. The Chair has a great challenge to moderate so that the final statements are agreeable to all, and I am sure that the Pasadena Statement on RARC will prove of great interest to all working in this field.

[The Pasadena Consensus Statement Best Practices white paper will be published in European Urology in coming months, along with two systematic reviews and a Surgery in Motion technique paper]

Declan Murphy is a urologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, and Associate Editor at BJUI. Twitter @declangmurphy

Disclosure – Declan Murphy received support to cover travel and accommodation costs through the New England Research Institute. No industry support was received by any participants in this conference.


Not So Watchful Waiting?

SPCG-4 of Robotic Prostatectomy versus WW: April #urojc summary

This month’s twitter based international urology journal club, found by using #urojc, kicked off with the highly anticipated 20 year follow-up of the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group Study Number 4 (SPCG-4). This article had twitter buzzing in mid-March when it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine making it an ideal article for April’s journal club. This paper became an instant urology “classic.”

Bill-Axelson et al. published this 18 year follow up of a randomized control trial which separated individuals with early prostate cancer into two groups: watchful waiting or radical prostatectomy. Notable results of the study included a relative risk reduction of 44% from prostate cancer for those who underwent a radical prostatectomy compared to with watchful waiting with the NNT = 8, decreased use of androgen-deprivation therapy in this group, and the benefit of surgery being the most prominent in men <65 years with a 55% decrease in the relative risk of death due to prostate cancer.

Given that these results contradict the well known results of the Prostate Cancer Intervention versus Observation Trial (PIVOT), which started after the advent of PSA screening – the discussion of this article was particularly interesting. They are however, very different studies in terms of era and the populations studied.

During the 48 hour discussion period, key topics discussed were:

  • The applicability of these findings given the many advances in prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment since the 1990’s
  • The factors that influence the NNT
  • The impact of androgen deprivation therapy within both groups
  • How to weigh the impact of adverse effects including erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence especially in the context of today’s treatment which includes radiation therapy, an option not addressed in this SPCG-4 study
  • The importance of this study should we face the possibility of shifting back to a pre-PSA era with the new USPSTF recommendations regarding PSA screening

As soon as the discussion opened, a question was posed if this was considered a contemporary cohort:

However, this thought was countered by:

The conversation continued to include the importance of time in NNT as pointed out Stacy Loeb. The point was later made, that the NNT might actually be lower with today’s advents of management in high-risk cancer patients.

There was a brief discussion on the statistic that 60% of the participants in the watchful waiting group underwent ADT treatment versus only 40% in the radical prostatectomy group.

Impact of adverse effects was also briefly discussed. The article stated that 84% of prostatectomy patients had ED versus 80% of the patients in WW.  However, incontinence was only present in 11% of the watchful waiting group versus 40% of the surgery group. These statistics are interesting to compare, when the third option of radiation therapy is introduced. With RT being a viable alternative today compared to the 1990’s when the initial enrollment for the SPCG-4 study was done, weighing the risk/benefits of treatment becomes much more complicated.

The importance of weighing QOL was not forgotten during this discussion.

Finally, there was some great conversation alluding to the relevance of this study in the future given the new guidelines of the USTPSF which recommend against using PSA to screen for prostate cancer in healthy men of all ages on the account that there is no realized benefit.

Overall the importance of this study can be easily summarized as follows:

We welcomed a new member!

A huge thank you to the American Urological Association who supported the Best Tweet prize of a video box set. The winner is Fardod O’Kelly for the following tweet:

Thank you to everyone who joined the discussion. We look forward to seeing you at the May #urojc! 

Meena Davuluri is a 3rd year medical student at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. She is interested in pursuing a career in Urology. Her interests include cost-effective decision analysis and health policy regarding healthcare delivery models. Follow her on Twitter @MeenaDavuluri.


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