Characterizing the transcutaneous electrical recruitment of lower leg afferents in healthy adults: implications for non-invasive treatment of overactive bladder

As a potential new treatment for overactive bladder (OAB), we investigated the feasibility of non-invasively activating multiple nerve targets in the lower leg.

In healthy participants, surface electrical stimulation (frequency = 20 Hz, pulse width = 200 μs) was used to target the tibial nerve, saphenous nerve, medial plantar nerve, and lateral plantar nerve. At each location, the stimulation amplitude was increased to define the thresholds for evoking (1) cutaneous sensation, (2) target nerve recruitment and (3) maximum tolerance.

All participants were able to tolerate stimulation amplitudes that were 2.1 ± 0.2 (range = 2.0 to 2.4) times the threshold for activating the target nerve.

Non-invasive electrical stimulation can activate neural targets at levels that are consistent with evoking bladder-inhibitory reflex mechanisms. Further work is needed to test the clinical effects of stimulating one or more neural targets in OAB patients.

BMC urology. 2018 Feb 13*** epublish ***

Eshani Sharan, Kelly Hunter, Magdy Hassouna, Paul B Yoo

Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, 164 College Street, Room 407, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G9, Canada., Division of Urology, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada., Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, 164 College Street, Room 407, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G9, Canada. .

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