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Performing a urinary flow rate test: Frequently asked questions

Patient information A-Z

What is a flow rate?

As part of the investigations for your difficulty passing urine, your doctor has asked for a special test to measure how fast you pass urine (a maximum urinary flow rate). This entails passing urine into a special funnel which measures electronically how fast your urine is expelled.

You should try to come to this appointment in clinic with your bladder comfortably full, if your bladder contains less than 150ml (quarter of a pint), the result of the test may be unsatisfactory. If you have difficulty in keeping a full bladder, please inform the staff as soon as you arrive so that they can help provide you with sufficient fluid to fill up your bladder.

Please note that you may receive similar instructions from the ultrasound scanning department about preparation of your bladder before your ultrasound scan; these instructions should be followed separately.

If your bladder is not full for this test, the measurement could be invalid and it may be necessary for you to attend again at a later date to repeat the test.

When you arrive for your clinic appointment, please show this information sheet to the receptionist or clinic nurse immediately and they will arrange for your flow test to be performed.

Device used for flow rate test

Who can I contact for more help or information?

Oncology nurses

Uro-oncology nurse specialist
01223 586748

Bladder cancer nurse practitioner (haematuria, chemotherapy and BCG)
01223 274608

Prostate cancer nurse practitioner
01223 274608 or 216897 or bleep 154-548

Surgical care practitioner
01223 348590 or 256157 or bleep 154-351

Non-oncology nurses

Urology nurse practitioner (incontinence, urodynamics, catheter patients)
01223 274608 or 586748 or bleep 157-237

Urology nurse practitioner (stoma care)
01223 349800

Urology nurse practitioner (stone disease)
01223 349800 or bleep 152-879

Patient Advice and Liaison Centre (PALS)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 216756
PatientLine: *801 (from patient bedside telephones only)
E mail:
Mail: PALS, Box No 53 Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ

Chaplaincy and multi faith community
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217769
E mail:
Mail: The Chaplaincy, Box No 105 Addenbrooke's Hospital
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ

MINICOM System ("type" system for the hard of hearing)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217589

Access office (travel, parking and security information)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 596060

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151