Trial Search Results

Electrical Stimulation for Continence After Spinal Cord Injury

This study aims to improve continence and voiding of patients with spinal cord injury using electrical stimulation.

The Finetech Vocare Bladder System is an implantable sacral nerve stimulator for improving bladder and bowel function in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). It has been commercially available in Britain and other countries since 1982, and has been used in thousands of patients with SCI to improve bladder, bowel and sexual function. It received FDA approval in 1998 under Humanitarian Device Exemption H980005 and H980008 for providing urination on demand and to aid in bowel evacuation.

Electrical stimulation to produce bladder contraction and improve bladder voiding after spinal cord injury has usually been combined with cutting of sensory nerves to reduce reflex contraction of the bladder, which improves continence. However, cutting these nerves has undesirable side effects. This study will not cut any sensory nerve. This study is testing the use of the stimulator for inhibiting bladder contraction by stimulating sensory nerves to improve continence after spinal cord injury, and for blocking sphincter contraction to improve voiding.

Stanford is currently accepting patients for this trial.

Lead Sponsor:

Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research

Collaborator: VA Palo Alto Health Care System

Stanford Investigator(s):


  • Device: Finetech Vocare Bladder System




Inclusion Criteria:

Subjects will be included if they meet all of the following criteria:

   - Complete spinal cord injury (AIS grade A) of at least 2 years duration with
   neurological level (ISNCSCI level) below C4

   - Impaired bladder emptying due to Detrusor External Sphincter Dyssynergia-DESD
   (unco-ordinated contraction of bladder and external urethral sphincter) as shown on
   video-urodynamic testing. The criteria for DESD diagnosis will be the presence of an
   open bladder neck without stress incontinence, with a closed external urethral
   sphincter during the filling or voiding phase of fluoroscopic assisted urodynamic

   - Impaired continence due to detrusor hyper-reflexia

Exclusion Criteria:

Subjects will be excluded if they meet any of the following criteria:

   - Absence of reflex contractions of the bladder as shown on urodynamic testing

   - Absence of reflex contractions of the external urethral sphincter as shown on
   urodynamic testing with EMG

   - External sphincterotomy, urethral stricture or previous urethral or sphincter or
   bladder or prostate surgery

   - History of pelvic fracture

   - Subjects on anticoagulants or with coagulation disorders

   - Immunosuppressed subjects

   - Active or recurrent pressure ulcers, particularly in sacral, ischial or trochanteric

   - Active untreated infection

   - Active implanted medical device such as cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator

   - Progressive spinal cord injury

   - Pregnancy

   - Mechanical ventilator dependency

   - Any other significant co-morbidity or illness that would preclude their participation
   or increase the risk to them of participating in the study

   - Inability or unwillingness to follow study protocol or give informed consent

Ages Eligible for Study

22 Years - N/A

Genders Eligible for Study


Now accepting new patients

Contact Information

Stanford University
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305