What are posterior urethral valves (PUV)?
PUV is an abnormality of the urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body for elimination. The abnormality occurs when the urethral valves, which are small leaflets of tissue, have a narrow, slit-like opening that partially impedes urine outflow. Reverse flow occurs and can affect all of the urinary tract organs including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. The organs of the urinary tract become engorged with urine and swell, causing tissue and cell damage. The degree of urinary outflow obstruction will determine the severity of the urinary tract problems.
What causes posterior urethral valves?
PUV is the most common cause of severe types of urinary tract obstruction in children. It is thought to develop in the early stages of fetal development. The abnormality affects only males and occurs in about one in 8,000 births. This disorder is usually sporadic (occurs by chance). However, some cases have been seen in twins and siblings, suggesting a genetic component.