The purpose of this investigation is to evaluate methods in spinal cord injured individuals
to improve reflex urination. Anal dilation will be investigated to reduce high urethral
resistance and a vibrator on the patient's bottom will be tested to induce more sustained
bladder contractions for better bladder emptying.
Catheters are often used by individuals emptying their bladder following spinal cord injury.
Reflex voiding is one of the bladder emptying methods, and it relies on spontaneous bladder
contractions for voiding. These contractions occur with normal bladder filling or can be
induced with suprapubic tapping and hair pulling. Poor voiding responses with reflex
voiding can occur because of unwanted contractions of the urethra during bladder
contractions and/or unsustained bladder contractions that result in high residual urine. The
focus of this investigation is methods to reduce the high urethral resistance and to induce
more sustained bladder contractions.
Obj.1. Measure pelvic floor contractile activity including the pelvic floor relaxation
response (urethral and anal pressures, and EMG and the bulbocavernosus reflex) during
dilation of the anus with digits or a balloon for 60 sec at diameters of 2, 3.5 and 5 cm.
Obj. 2. Measure urodynamic parameters (urethral and anal pressures, EMG, urine flow rates
and bladder pressure) and compare three somatic methods of inducing bladder contractions,
which are vibration (3 mm conducted at 100 strokes per second) at suprapubic and perineum
(between the scrotum and anus) locations and tapping/suprapubic hair pulling. Conduct
procedures using 80% of cystometric capacity and define a responder to any of the three
interventions as an increase of 10 cm H20 pressure or greater. For nonresponders go to
Obj. 3. For responders to Ob. 2, further evaluate effects of perineum vibration by
conducting comparisons with (1) anal dilation to no dilation; (2) A vibration stroke length
of 1.5 mm to 3 mm; (3) A bladder volume of 50% cystometric capacity to 80%.
Obj. 4. Compare the urodynamic responses to spontaneous bladder contractions induced by
bladder filling (cystometry) with and without anal dilation.
Obj. 5. Conduct a human factors assessment. Determine problems with use of the current
perineum vibration and anal dilation devices. Evaluate if curving the tip of the insertion
device for the anal dilator would facilitate insertion and if the use of a plastic bag would
improve hygiene. Discuss features important for a user-friendly home-use device.
Design & Methods: All objectives will be conducted during a single, urodynamic, testing
protocol. Fifteen male SCI patients with upper-motor-neuron injuries will be enrolled.
Urodynamic responses are our primary measure. These include urethral and anal sphincter
pressures and anal surface EMG, bladder contractions including peak pressure and duration of
pressure, voiding responses including peak voiding rate and duration of voiding. These
measures will be evaluated during anal dilation and perineum vibration methods alone and in
combination. Anal dilation protocols will include random and duplicated testing. Vibration
methods will only be done once to limit the risk of autonomic dysreflexia. Analysis of
variance followed by Student-Neuman-Keuls post hoc test will be conducted to assess
Importance of Findings: Results from these studies will provide evidence for anal dilation
to reduce DSD and perineum vibration to improve bladder contractions. Thus, these studies
could provide important evidence for improved methods of RV for individuals with SCI.
During this pilot study, subjects will not be counseled to conduct RV for their daily or
regular bladder management program.
Male Veterans using Hines VA Hospital SCI Service that have upper motor neuron injuries
- Can voluntarily control their urination
- Surgically removed external urethral sphincter in men or replaced bladder
- Any implanted devices in the lower urinary tract
- Urinary tract infection in the prior 3 months or untreated urinary tract infection,
or bladder pathology such as a tumor or stones
- History of autonomic dysreflexia
- Anal inflammation or pathology
- Use of Indwelling (Foley) catheter as the primary method of bladder management; note
patients will be included if they only occasionally use a Foley catheters; for
example, during traveling
- Not under 18 or over 70 years old and in good health
- Less than 3-months after injury and before the return of bladder reflexes
- Lower motor neuron spinal cord injury
- Not competent to understand the study and the consent and willing to participate in