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A Proof-of-Concept Study of Transcutaneous Magnetic Spinal Cord Stimulation for Neurogenic Bladder.

  • Author(s): Niu, Tianyi;
  • Bennett, Carol J;
  • Keller, Tina L;
  • Leiter, JC;
  • Lu, Daniel C
  • et al.

Patients with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) cannot urinate at will and must empty the bladder by self-catheterization. We tested the hypothesis that non-invasive, transcutaneous magnetic spinal cord stimulation (TMSCS) would improve bladder function in individuals with SCI. Five individuals with American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale A/B, chronic SCI and detrusor sphincter dyssynergia enrolled in this prospective, interventional study. After a two-week assessment to determine effective stimulation characteristics, each patient received sixteen weekly TMSCS treatments and then received "sham" weekly stimulation for six weeks while bladder function was monitored. Bladder function improved in all five subjects, but only during and after repeated weekly sessions of 1 Hz TMSCS. All subjects achieved volitional urination. The volume of urine produced voluntarily increased from 0 cc/day to 1120 cc/day (p = 0.03); self-catheterization frequency decreased from 6.6/day to 2.4/day (p = 0.04); the capacity of the bladder increased from 244 ml to 404 ml (p = 0.02); and the average quality of life ranking increased significantly (p = 0.007). Volitional bladder function was re-enabled in five individuals with SCI following intermittent, non-invasive TMSCS. We conclude that neuromodulation of spinal micturition circuitry by TMSCS may be used to ameliorate bladder function.

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