Needs, priorities, and attitudes of individuals with spinal cord injury toward nerve stimulation devices for bladder and bowel function: a survey.


To investigate the needs and priorities of people with spinal cord injury for managing neurogenic bladder and bowel function and to determine their willingness to adopt neuromodulation interventions for these functions.

Anonymous online survey. It was advertised by word-of-mouth by community influencers and social media, and by advertisement in newsletters of advocacy groups.

Responses from 370 individuals (27% female, 73% male) were included. Bladder emptying without catheters was the top priority for restoring bladder function, and maintaining fecal continence was the top priority for restoring bowel function. The biggest concerns regarding external stimulation systems were wearing a device with wires connecting to electrodes on the skin and having to don and doff the system daily as needed. The biggest concerns for implanted systems were the chances of experiencing problems with the implant that required a revision surgery or surgical removal of the whole system. Respondents were willing to accept an external (61%) or implanted (41%) device to achieve improved bladder or bowel function.

Bladder and bowel dysfunction remain important unmet challenges for individuals living with SCI who answered our survey. These individuals are willing to accept some potential risks of nerve stimulation approaches given potential benefits. Additional consumer input is critical for guiding both research and translation to clinical use and personalized medicine.

Spinal cord. 2020 Sep 07 [Epub ahead of print]

Dennis Bourbeau, Abby Bolon, Graham Creasey, Wei Dai, Bill Fertig, Jennifer French, Tara Jeji, Anita Kaiser, Roman Kouznetsov, Alexander Rabchevsky, Bruno Gallo Santacruz, Jiayang Sun, Karl B Thor, Tracey Wheeler, Jane Wierbicky

Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA. ., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA., Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA., United Spinal Association, Virginia Beach, VA, USA., Neurotech Network and Neurotech Reports, St. Petersburg, FL, USA., Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, Toronto, ON, Canada., Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada., SCoBIRC, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA., Radiometer, Copenhagen, Denmark., Department of Statistics, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA., Dignify Therapeutics Inc., Durham, NC, USA., Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Encino, CA, USA., United Spinal Association, Kew Gardens, NY, USA.

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