Conditional and continuous electrical stimulation increase cystometric capacity in persons with spinal cord injury

Neurourol Urodyn. 2010 Mar;29(3):401-7. doi: 10.1002/nau.20766.


Aims: Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) exhibit neurogenic detrusor overactivity (NDO) causing high intravesicle pressures and incontinence. The first aim was to measure changes in maximum cystometric capacity (MCC) evoked by electrical stimulation of the dorsal genital nerve (DGN) delivered either continuously or conditionally (only during bladder contractions) in persons with SCI. The second aim was to use the external anal sphincter electromyogram (EMG(EAS)) for real-time control of conditional stimulation.

Methods: Serial filling cystometries were performed in nine volunteers with complete or incomplete supra-sacral SCI. Conditional stimulation was delivered automatically when detrusor pressure increased to 8-12 cmH(2)O above baseline. MCCs were measured for each treatment (continuous, conditional, and no stimulation) and compared using post-ANOVA Tukey HSD paired comparisons. Additional treatments in two subjects used the EMG(EAS) for automatic control of conditional stimulation.

Results: Continuous and conditional stimulation increased MCC by 63 +/- 73 ml (36 +/- 24%) and 74 +/- 71 ml (51 +/- 37%), respectively (P < 0.05), compared to no stimulation. There was no significant difference between MCCs for conditional and continuous stimulation, but conditional stimulation significantly reduced stimulation time (174 +/- 154 sec, or 27 +/- 17% of total time) as compared to continuous stimulation (469 +/- 269 sec, 100% of total time, P < 0.001). The EMG(EAS) algorithm provided reliable detection of bladder contractions (six of six contractions over four trials) and reduced stimulation time (21 +/- 8% of total time).

Conclusions: Conditional stimulation generates increases in bladder capacity while substantially reducing stimulation time. Furthermore, EMG(EAS) was successfully used as a real-time feedback signal to control conditional electrical stimulation in a laboratory setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / etiology
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / physiopathology*
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / etiology
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / physiopathology*
  • Urodynamics*