Closed loop electrical control of urinary continence.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Individuals with spinal cord injury or neurological disorders may have neurogenic detrusor contractions at low volumes (bladder hyperreflexia), which cause incontinence and can lead to significant health problems. Bladder contractions can be suppressed by electrical stimulation of inhibitory pathways but continuous activation may lead to habituation of the inhibitory reflex and loss of continence. We determined whether conditional stimulation with electrical stimulation of inhibitory pathways applied only at the onset of nascent bladder contractions allows the bladder to fill to a greater volume before continence is lost compared with continuous stimulation.

Materials and methods

In 6 alpha-chloralose anesthetized cats cystometry was performed to compare the volume at which continence was lost under the conditions of no stimulation, continuous stimulation and conditional electrical stimulation of inhibitory pathways. PNT ENG was used to detect the onset of bladder contractions and it served as the input to an event triggered control system that regulated conditional stimulation to maintain continence.


Conditional stimulation controlled by PNT ENG increased bladder capacity by 36% over no stimulation and by 15% over continuous stimulation (p <0.001 and 0.027, respectively). The event triggered control system decreased stimulation time by 67% compared to continuous stimulation.


Conditional electrical stimulation of inhibitory pathways is more effective than continuous stimulation. A control system triggered by PNT ENG can maintain urinary continence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wenzel, BJ; Boggs, JW; Gustafson, KJ; Grill, WM

Published Date

  • April 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 175 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1559 - 1563

PubMed ID

  • 16516045

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-3792

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-5347

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0022-5347(05)00657-9


  • eng