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The role of preoperative oral vitamin B in the cystoscopic assessment of ureteric patency


Introduction and hypothesis

The objective of this study is to determine whether oral vitamin B can be used as a marker of ureteric patency at cystoscopy, and thereby reduce the need for intraoperative intravenous indigo carmine.


Patients scheduled for cystoscopy, or for an operation likely to require a cystoscopy, were given three tablets of vitamin B complex orally 1–4 h prior to their operation. The time of administration, time of operation, and time of cystoscopy were recorded. The time taken for ureteric jets to be visualized was also recorded. The color of the urine was graded by the operator as being clear (negative) or bright yellow (positive), indicating ureteric patency and that no indigo carmine was required.


Sixty-nine women in total were given vitamin B prior to their cystoscopy. One case was cancelled because of presumed but unproven aspiration. In 49 of the remaining 68 cases (72.1%), yellow urine was seen at both ureteric orifices. In 19 (27.9%) cases, yellow urine was not seen at both ureteric orifices; however, unilateral yellow, clear, or turbulent jets were seen in all but one case. The mean time from dose to cystoscopy was 162 min and the mean time for visualization of both ureteric jets was 2.2 min with no significant difference between groups. Indigo carmine was used in only two cases (2.9%).


The results of this study show that oral vitamin B administration preoperatively has the potential to be used to reduce the requirement for intravenous indigo carmine administration. This would have advantages in reducing the cost and toxicity of intravenous indigo carmine administration. Vitamin B warrants further investigation and refinement as a marker of ureteric patency at cystoscopy.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Dr. Weng Chan (consultant gynaecologist) and Dr. Luice Wang (gynaecology fellow) at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne, Australia, who participated in the use of vitamin B preoperatively for their cases and contributed them to the study.

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Correspondence to Shavi Fernando.

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Fernando, S., Dowling, C. & Rosamilia, A. The role of preoperative oral vitamin B in the cystoscopic assessment of ureteric patency. Int Urogynecol J 22, 947–951 (2011).

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  • Cystoscopy
  • Indigo carmine
  • Vitamin B
  • Riboflavin
  • Ureteric patency