A therapeutic trial of acupuncture in neurogenic bladder of spinal cord injured patients – a preliminary report

Abstract

Eighty patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and neurogenic bladder were studied. Among them, 28 (70%) cases in the control group and 32 (80%) cases in the electroacupuncture group achieved ultimately balanced voiding and were selected for further analysis. The acupuncture group received electroacupuncture at four acupoints: Chung Chi (Conception Vessel CV3), Kuan Yuan (CV4), and bilateral Tzu Liao (Urinary Bladder UB32), in addition to conventional intermittent catheterization program (ICP). Whereas the control group underwent conventional bladder training program with ICP only. The results revealed that the time of achieving balanced voiding was statistically significantly shorter with electroacupuncture than in the control group: 57.1±22.5 vs 85.2±27.4 days (P<0.005) for upper motor neuron lesions, and 55.4±22.6 vs 83.4±26.1 days (P<0.01) for lower motor neuron lesions. However, there was almost no difference between upper motor neuron lesions and lower motor neuron lesions. When acupuncture commenced was also a factor to influence the results. Those who received acupuncture within 3 weeks after injury had significantly shortened the total days to achieve a balanced bladder, as compared to those who received acupuncture 3 weeks after injury (46.6±13.2 vs 65.8±15.4 days, P<0.005). Our study implied that acupuncture might be beneficial in the management of neurogenic bladder of SCI, and the earlier the patient received electro-acupuncture therapy, the sooner the bladder balanced. On the other hand, we also found that complete spinal cord injury, either with pronounced detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia in upper motor nueron lesion or with persistent areflexic bladder in lower motor neuron lesion, was not affected by acupuncture.

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Correspondence to Pao-Tsai Cheng.

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Cheng, PT., Wong, MK. & Chang, PL. A therapeutic trial of acupuncture in neurogenic bladder of spinal cord injured patients – a preliminary report. Spinal Cord 36, 476–480 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.sc.3100689

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Keywords

  • spinal cord injury
  • neurogenic bladder
  • electro-acupuncture
  • intermittent catheterization program
  • balanced bladder

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