Objectives To investigate mortality in men admitted to hospital with acute urinary retention and to report on the effects of comorbidity on mortality.
Design Analysis of the hospital episode statistics database linked to the mortality database of the Office for National Statistics.
Setting NHS hospital trusts in England, 1998-2005.
Participants All men aged over 45 who were admitted to NHS hospitals in England with a first episode of acute urinary retention.
Main outcome measures Mortality in the first year after acute urinary retention and standardised mortality ratio against the general population.
Results During the study period, 176046 men aged over 45 were admitted to hospital with a first episode of acute urinary retention. In 100067 men with spontaneous acute urinary retention, the one year mortality was 4.1% in men aged 45-54 and 32.8% in those aged 85 and over. In 75979 men with precipitated acute urinary retention, mortality was 9.5% and 45.4%, respectively. In men with spontaneous acute urinary retention aged 75-84, the most prevalent age group, the one year mortality was 12.5% in men without comorbidity and 28.8% in men with comorbidity. The corresponding figures for men with precipitated acute urinary retention were 18.1% and 40.5%. Compared with the general population, the highest relative increase in mortality was in men aged 45-54 (standardised mortality ratio 10.0 for spontaneous and 23.6 for precipitated acute urinary retention) and the lowest for men 85 and over (1.7 and 2.4, respectively).
Conclusions Mortality in men admitted to hospital with acute urinary retention is high and increases strongly with age and comorbidity. Patients might benefit from multi-disciplinary care to identify and treat comorbid conditions.