NIRS: Past, Present, and Future in Functional Urology.

Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-invasive optical technique that uses near infrared light to detect the oxygenation status and hemodynamics of various organs. This article reviews the use of NIRS for the non-invasive assessment of lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTD). Applications include assessment of bladder outlet obstruction, overactive and underactive bladder, neurogenic LUTD, pediatric LUTD, interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome, and pelvic floor dysfunction. In addition, the article describes how NIRS is elucidating more about the brain-bladder connection. Technological advancements enabling these applications are also discussed.

While evidence exists for the application of NIRS throughout a wide range of LUTD, most of these studies are limited by small sample sizes without matched controls. Investigators have experienced problems with reproducibility and motion artifacts contaminating the data. The literature is also becoming dated with use of older technology.

NIRS holds potential for the non-invasive acquisition of urodynamic information over time scales and activities not previously accessible, but it is not yet ready for use in routine clinical practice. Advances in wearable technology will address some of the current limitations of NIRS, but to realize its full potential, larger scale validation studies will be required. Moreover, multidisciplinary collaboration between clinicians, scientists, engineers, and patient advocates will be critical to further optimize these systems.

Current bladder dysfunction reports. 2022 Aug 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Alexander Koven, Sender Herschorn

Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON Canada.

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