Nocturia is a bothersome symptom and the leading cause of disturbed sleep in adults. It is extremely common, with 55% of men and 60% of women aged 50 waking at least once in the night, with a further 20% waking at least twice . It is associated with impaired quality of life, reduced work productivity, increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and even risk of death.
Nocturia is often resistant to treatment because many of its causes can be particularly hard to elucidate. However, the increased recognition of its high prevalence and the important role that sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), play in nocturia and its clinical sequelae, has transformed nocturia management in recent years.
Nocturia work-up is one of the main reasons for requesting an accurate frequency-volume chart (FVC). Traditionally, this has been a paper exercise. However, the increasing proportion of remote consultations following the COVID-19 pandemic often means there is difficulty distributing and collecting these patient-generated data. The solution would be an electronic alternative allowing patients to accurately measure fluid intake / output, producing meaningful summary reports for urological evaluation. One potential answer could be through the use of smartphone applications (apps).
In truth, paper-based exercises are becoming a tool of the past. Digitalisation has occurred rapidly in the UK – 87% of all UK adults own a smartphone compared to just 17% 10 years ago . Whilst healthcare has traditionally been resistant to change, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced digital advancement in a much shorter space of time. We are now beginning to see in real time how digital healthcare solutions are not just benefitting patients but empowering them as well.
Currently, there are several apps for FVC available although none of them are specifically designed for nocturia assessment. We therefore performed a scoping review of these FVC apps to identify how these currently assess nocturia in a patient, with the aim of developing an FVC app specifically designed for nocturia work-up.
We identified all FVC apps on Play Store (Android) and App Store (iOS) using keyword searches. We excluded any apps from analysis if they were not free for users or did not have specific intake / output features.