Urodynamic Unit, Department of Nephrology and Urology, Children's Hospital Bambino Gesu, Rome, Italy.
A variety of electrical nerve stimulation methods has been used through the years to treat lower urinary tract dysfunction. Relevant literature was reviewed to analyze techniques and available biomedical devices, technique applicability, indications and usefulness in pediatrics.
An extensive search was performed on PubMed® and MEDLINE® for scientific publications on intravesical, transcutaneous, sacral spine and root, and tibial nerve stimulation in children with lower urinary tract dysfunction of nonneurogenic and neurogenic origin. Relevant articles and controlled studies in adult patients were also considered. The search covered the period 1990 to 2009 and we found approximately 400 articles, of which 29 related to pediatrics.
Due to feasibility problems with placebo studies the majority of the studies were noncontrolled, some of them clinical trials on acute urodynamic changes during electrical stimulation or experimental research in animals. Overall only a few randomized trials were found. Regarding types of electrostimulation and indications in children the recent literature emphasizes stimulation far from the anal-genital region, such as sacral transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, mainly for refractory overactive bladder. Intravesical stimulation is the procedure of choice to enhance sensation in patients with incomplete neurogenic lesions. Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is tolerated by children but has been poorly studied. Sacral neuromodulation using implanted devices remains questionable and needs further clarification of its indications. Magnetic stimulation has rarely been used in children to date. More experimental studies are needed to assess the method of action and refine the parameters of stimulation.
Clinical controlled trials vs sham devices and predictable variables for successful response are urgently needed to address an apparently renewed focus on the use of nerve stimulation in the treatment of pediatric lower urinary tract symptoms.
De Gennaro M, Capitanucci ML, Mosiello G, Zaccara A. Are you the author?
Reference: J Urol. 2011 Mar 16. Epub ahead of print.