Efficacy of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation in Children with Overactive Bladder Refractory to Pharmacotherapy

Elizabeth Malm-Buatsi, Kenneth G. Nepple, Margaret A. Boyt, J. Christopher Austin, Christopher S. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the outcome of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) use in children with overactive bladder refractory to behavioral and anticholinergic therapy. Methods: We reviewed the data of 18 children (13 girls and 5 boys; mean age 9 years) with overactive bladder refractory to standard therapy who underwent at-home TENS treatment twice daily for 20 minutes. Symptoms and objective measures (noninvasive uroflowmetry and postvoid residual urine volume) were noted at baseline and after treatment. Results: Of the 18 children, 15 had pretreatment incontinence and 3 had only increased urgency/frequency. The incontinence group averaged 3.2 ± 2.1 daytime accidents. The mean length of TENS use was 8 ± 7 months, and the mean follow-up after starting TENS was 13 ± 9 months. Of the 15 patients with incontinence, 2 became dry (13%), 9 were significantly improved (60%), and 4 reported no improvement (27%). Of 12 children with marked urinary frequency, 8 had significant symptom improvement. Noninvasive uroflow and postvoid residual urine volume measurements were not significantly different statistically before and after treatment. Pretreatment patient sex, age, and frequency of wetting were not predictive of the outcome. A post-TENS parabolic uroflow curve showed a statistically significant correlation with patients who became dry or improved (P = 0.018). Conclusions: The results of our study have indicated that TENS use in children with incontinence refractory to pharmacotherapy is safe and well tolerated. The encouraging results of this treatment modality in the refractory patient population warrant additional study of the pediatric overactive bladder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)980-983
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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