Emerging clinical applications of electrical stimulation: opportunities for restoration of function.
Emerging clinical application of electrical stimulation in three systems is reviewed. In the bladder, stimulation of sacral posterior roots reduces reflex incontinence and significantly improves bladder capacity. With the combination of anterior and posterior root stimulation, bladder control can be achieved without the need for rhizotomy. Preliminary research demonstrates that bladder contractions may also be generated by stimulation of the urethral sensory branch of the pudendal nerve, even after acute spinal cord transection, while inhibition of the bladder and control of urge incontinence can be achieved by stimulation of the whole pudendal nerve. Spinal cord stimulation can modulate the activity of the intrinsic cardiac nervous system involved in the regulation of regional cardiac function and significantly reduce the pain associated with angina pectoris. Finally in the area of upper airway disorders, functional electrical stimulation has great potential for increasing life support as well as for quality of life in chronic ailments, particularly obstructive sleep apnea and dysphagia.
Grill, WM; Craggs, MD; Foreman, RD; Ludlow, CL; Buller, JL
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