A total of 20 men awaiting elective prostatectomy for bladder outflow obstruction underwent conventional medium filling cystometry and ambulatory monitoring of bladder pressures during natural bladder filling. Total bladder capacity was similar during both tests (medium filling cystometry 256 +/- 138 ml. and ambulatory monitoring 248 +/- 120 ml., p not significant) as was the voided volume (medium filling cystometry 180 +/- 100 ml. and ambulatory monitoring 179 +/- 88 ml., p not significant). However, the peak urinary flow rate at the end of medium filling cystometry (4 +/- 6 ml. per second) was significantly lower than during ambulatory monitoring (9 +/- 4 ml. per second, p less than 0.05). The bladder contraction pressure during medium filling cystometry (79 +/- 44 cm. water) was significantly lower than during ambulatory monitoring (107 +/- 39 cm. water, p less than 0.005). Bladder pressures during voiding recorded after natural filling were significantly greater than after artificial filling. This finding may have significant implications for the use of conventional cystometry to study conditions such as outflow obstruction.