Transurethral electrical bladder stimulation to rehabilitate the neurogenic bladder initially proposed by Katona has been promoted in the United States by Kaplan and Richards since the mid 1980s. Encouraged by their results, 2 1/2 years ago we instituted a program patterned on their experience. Since January 1989 we performed transurethral electrical bladder stimulation in 21 patients ranging in age from 4 months to 26 years. The cause of the neurogenic bladder was myelomeningocele in 16 patients, lipomeningocele in 4 and an incomplete spinal cord injury in 1. The stimulation was performed using equipment supplied by Kaplan and Richards, and the stimulation protocol followed their recommendations. The treatments were delivered in daily sessions of 90 minutes with about 20 sessions in a series. Of the patients 11 have undergone 1, 6 have finished 2 and 4 have completed 3 series of stimulation. The ultimate objective of the program is to achieve volitional voiding. To reach that goal the stimulation must engender a bladder contraction that must then be perceived and ultimately controlled. Of our patients 20 (95%) achieved bladder contractions during stimulation, including 12 (60%) who had either a definite (7) or probable (5) sense of these contractions. To date, only 1 patient has started the biofeedback program to attempt to modify detrusor activity and he is presently wet on clean intermittent catheterization. Parents of 5 other children report minor positive changes in the child's perception of the bladder activity. Three patients noticed an improvement in the bowel program, although the effect only lasted during the month of stimulation in 1. Cystometrograms were performed before each series of treatments. Of the 10 patients with serial studies 2 had significant increases in bladder capacity and 3 demonstrated a clinically significant decrease in the end filling pressures. We have seen limited encouraging results from transurethral electrical bladder stimulation. This is a time-consuming, labor intensive program, and the parents and patients need to be informed of the actual potential for dramatic improvements.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes