Innovative Wearables to Tackle Bladder Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis: Valerie J. Block, PT, DPTSc


The assistant professor of neurology at UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences talked about a study that explored the use of commercial wearable devices to monitor and manage bladder dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"To our knowledge, this was the first study using commercial wearables for patients with MS to help with bladder dysfunction."

Bladder dysfunction (BD) negatively impacts many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and patients with other neurological conditions such as by inherent bother, life-threatening infections, and decreased quality of life. In a recent pilot study of patients with MS, findings provided initial insights into the feasibility, validity, and clinical utility of bladder wearables to assess, monitor, and treat BD remotely. These insights included the knowledge of device optimization usage, data cleaning into novel outcomes, and targets for behavioral change in women with MS who have BD.1

Among 13 patients with MS who completed the study, the mean use of the wearable device for monitoring BD was 14.1 days. Activities included a clinical postvoid residual (PVR), wearing DFree for at least 3 to 5 days/month over 12 weeks, and a 3-day bladder diary. From raw minute-level device data, 2 measures were generated: home PVR (dPVR) and urinary frequency (dFrequency). All told, Bland-Altman agreement was good between PVR and dPVR, with no systematic bias observed. Similarly, agreement was noted by the authors using all available dPVR data compared with only the first 7 days. Notably, the correlation between urinary frequency and diary-reported frequency was 0.81. Participant feedback reported excellent usability, usefulness, and ease of use as well as highlighted the utility of DFree, which is a small, noninvasive ultrasound patch measuring bladder urine volume for BD self-management.

These findings were presented at the 2024 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Annual Meeting, held May 29 to June 1, in Nashville, Tennessee, by lead author Valerie J. Block, PT, DPTSc, assistant professor of neurology at UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. Following the meeting, Block sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® to discuss the primary barriers to addressing bladder dysfunction in patients with MS. She also talked about how wearable ultrasound devices compare with traditional post-void residual measurements. Furthermore, Block spoke about the potential of future applications of wearable devices that can treat bladder dysfunction in other neurological conditions.

Click here for more coverage of CMSC 2024.

1. Block VJ, Suskind AM, Guo CY, Poole S, Cutter G, Bove R. Web: A Pilot Study of Wearables for Bladder Monitoring in People With Multiple Sclerosis. Presented at: 2024 CMSC Annual Meeting; May 29-June 2; Nashville, TN. ABSTRACT DMX01.
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