The study was designed to investigate the clinical application and significance of the bulbocavernosus reflex (BCR) test for diagnosing diabetic neurogenic bladder (DNB) in female subjects. In this study, 68 female patients with DNB and 40 female normal controls were subjected to a nerve conduction study (NCS) of all four limbs and the BCR test. The data were analyzed and compared, and the corresponding diagnostic sensitivities were discussed. Mean BCR latency for female DNB patients was significantly prolonged, compared to that of the control group, suggesting pudendal nerve injuries in female DNB patients. Moreover, DNB patients were categorized according to the diabetes course. Compared to that of Group A (diabetes course < 5 y), the mean BCR latency was significantly prolonged in Group B (diabetes course between 5 and 10 y) and then further prolonged in Group C (diabetes course > 10 y), which were all longer than the control group. Furthermore, compared with that of the controls, the mean BCR latency was prolonged in DNB patients with or without NCS abnormalities in limbs. Nevertheless, no significant difference was observed in BCR latency between DNB patients with and without NCS abnormalities. Significantly increasing trends were also observed in the NCS and BCR abnormality rates along with increased diabetes course. Most importantly, compared with the NCS of limbs, the BCR test was more sensitive in diagnosing DNB in the female subjects. Overall, our findings suggest that the BCR test would help to assess the pudendal nerve injury in female DNB patients, which might be a potential diagnostic tool in the clinic.
Niu Xiaoting,Wang Xun,Huang Huanjie, et al. Bulbocavernosus Reflex Test for Diagnosis of Pudendal Nerve Injury in Female Patients with Diabetic Neurogenic Bladder[J]. Aging and disease,
2016, 7(6): 715-720.
Figure 1. BCR test results on representative subjects. (A) A 50-year-old healthy woman. Stimulating electrode on the pudendal nerve and recording electrode in the left bulbocavernous muscle, with average BCR latency of 28.8ms, illustrating normal BCR. (B) A 51-year-old woman with DNB. Stimulating electrode on the pudendal nerve and recording electrode in the left bulbocavernous muscle, with average BCR latency of 62.8ms, illustrating prolonged BCR latency.
Left BCR latency, ms
Right BCR latency, ms
Mean BCR latency, ms
Table 1 BCR latencies in female DNB patients and control subjects.
Left BCR latency, ms
Right BCR latency, ms
Mean BCR latency, ms
DNB patients without NCS abnormalities
57.78 ± 6.33*
58.31 ± 6.96*
58.04 ± 6.72*
DNB patients with NCS abnormalities
57.96 ± 6.42*#
58.95 ± 6.01*#
58.77 ± 6.09*#
43.74 ± 5.19
44.44 ± 5.37
44.34 ± 5.21
Table 2 BCR latencies in DNB patients with and without NCS abnormalities.
NCS abnormality rate, n (%)
BCR abnormality rate, n (%)
Table 3 NCS and BCR abnormality rats in female DNB patients and control subjects.
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