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Is on-demand sacral neuromodulation in patients with OAB syndrome a feasible therapy regime?


  • Chris Winters led the review process.

  • Conflicts of interest: Both Prof. Ph van Kerrebroeck and EHJ Weil are study investigators and did work as a consultant for Medtronic. They received a research grant from Medtronic.



Sacral neuromodulation (SNM) of the lower urinary tract has proven to be safe and effective in patients with complaints of OAB syndrome who are not responding to conservative therapy. After 5 years of treatment the implanted system is still effective in 56–71% of patients. The loss of effect could be caused by adaptation of the nerve system to prolonged stimulation of the sacral nerves.

Materials and Methods

We set up a pilot intervention study. After a run-in period of 2 weeks patients were randomized into two groups: one group with on-demand neuromodulation (intervention group) and one group with continuous neuromodulation (control group). Patients in the intervention group were instructed to switch their INS off by default and to switch it on again when they felt recurrent symptoms, patients in the control group were asked to use their system as normally.


After 2 weeks 10 out of 16 subjects reported a comparable symptom score during on-demand use of their neuromodulation system. Patients appreciated the comfort of being self-determent in the need for therapy.


Possible benefits for patients could be: more autonomy, longer battery life of the implanted INS, decreasing the chance of adaptation by the nervous system. Neurourol. Urodynam. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30: 1493–1496, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.