PURPOSE: To confirm feasibility of recording pressure along the length of the urethra using a multi-sensor fibre-optic pressure catheter; to identify the spatial and temporal features of changes in pressure along the urethra at sites related to specific striated pelvic floor muscles; and to investigate the relationship between urethral pressures and activation of individual pelvic floor muscles estimated from ultrasound imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Proof-of-concept study including one male (47 years old) and one female (33 years old). A multi-sensor fibre optic pressure catheter (10 mm sensor separation) was inserted into the urethra. Pressure data were recorded simultaneously with trans-perineal ultrasound imaging measures of pelvic floor muscle activity during sub-maximal and maximal voluntary contractions and evoked coughs. RESULTS: Pressure changes along the urethra were recorded in all tasks in both participants. Face validity of interpretation of pressure measures with respect to individual muscles was supported by correlation with ultrasound-measured displacements induced by the relevant muscles. Onset of pressure increase occurred in a distal to proximal sequence in the urethra of the male but not the female during voluntary contraction. Peak urethral pressures varied in location, timing and amplitude between tasks. Evoked cough induced in the greatest urethral pressure increase across all tasks for both participants. CONCLUSIONS: The high spatial resolution pressure catheter provide viable and valid recordings of urethral pressure in a male and female. Data provide preliminary evidence of sex differences in spatial and temporal distribution of urethral pressure changes.
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- Pelvic floor
- Reproductive and urinary physiological phenomena