Incomplete bladder emptying (IBE) is defined as having a postvoid residual (PVR) urine volume greater than 100 mL for 2 consecutive days. IBE is common in stroke patients and could necessitate indwelling or intermittent catheterization. The condition is correlated with urinary tract infections, which could impede rehabilitation progress and increase medical costs. Treatment for patients with IBE includes bladder retraining, biofeedback, medication, and botulinum toxin injection, but none of these interventions are completely effective.
All patients with acute stroke who were admitted to the rehabilitation ward between August 2010 and April 2011 were included in the study and their PVR urine volume was checked. Electroacupuncture (EA; 1 Hz, 15 minutes) was performed on the acupoints Sanyinjiao (SP6), Ciliao (BL32), and Pangguangshu (BL28) of stroke patients with IBE for a total of ten treatments (five times a week for 2 weeks). Bladder diaries, which included the spontaneous voiding and PVR urine volumes, were recorded during the course of treatment.
The presence of IBE was not related to sex, history of diabetes mellitus, stroke type (hemorrhagic or ischemic), or stroke location (P > 0.05). Among the 49 patients in the study, nine (18%) had IBE, and seven of the stroke patients with IBE were treated with EA. Increased spontaneous voiding volume and decreased PVR urine volume were noted after ten sessions of EA.
EA may have beneficial effects on stroke survivors with IBE, thereby making it a potential safe modality with which to improve urinary function.