Neuromuscular electrical stimulation and the treatment of lower urinary tract dysfunction in multiple sclerosis--a double blind, placebo controlled, randomised clinical trial.Neurourol Urodyn. 2008; 27(3):231-7.NU
Lower urinary tract dysfunction affects up to 75% of the multiple sclerosis population. Results from our recent Pilot Study (McClurg et al., 2006) indicated that a combined programme of pelvic floor muscle training, electromyography biofeedback and neuromuscular electrical stimulation modalities may alleviate some of the distressing symptoms within this population. This clinical trial aimed to evaluate further the efficacy of these interventions and to establish the benefit of neuromuscular electrical stimulation above and beyond that of EMG biofeedback and pelvic floor muscle training.
74 multiple sclerosis patients who presented with lower urinary tract dysfunction were randomly allocated to one of two groups - Group 1 received Pelvic Floor Muscle Training, Electromyography Biofeedback and Placebo Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (n=37), and Group 2 which received Pelvic Floor Muscle Training, Electromyography Biofeedback, and Active Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (n=37). Treatment was for nine weeks with outcome measures recorded at weeks 0, 9, 16 and 24. The Primary Outcome Measure was the number of leakage episodes. Within group analysis was by Paired Samples t-test. Group differences were analysed using Repeated Measures Analysis of Variance and Post-hoc tests were used to determine the significance of differences between Groups at each time point.
The mean number of incontinence episodes were reduced in Group 2 by 85% (p=0.001) whereas in Group 1 a lesser reduction of 47% (p=0.001) was observed. However, there was a statistically superior benefit in Group 2 when compared to Group 1 (p=0.0028). This superior benefit was evident in all other outcome measures.
The addition of Active Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation to a programme of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training and Electromyography Biofeedback should be considered as a first-line option in alleviating some of the symptoms of lower urinary tract dysfunction associated with multiple sclerosis.