Design Parallel group randomised controlled trial.
Setting 23 community and secondary care centres providing continence care in Scotland and England.
Participants 600 women aged 18 and older, newly presenting with stress or mixed urinary incontinence between February 2014 and July 2016: 300 were randomised to PFMT plus electromyographic biofeedback and 300 to PFMT alone.
Interventions Participants in both groups were offered six appointments with a continence therapist over 16 weeks. Participants in the biofeedback PFMT group received supervised PFMT and a home PFMT programme, incorporating electromyographic biofeedback during clinic appointments and at home. The PFMT group received supervised PFMT and a home PFMT programme. PFMT programmes were progressed over the appointments.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome was self-reported severity of urinary incontinence (International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-urinary incontinence short form (ICIQ-UI SF), range 0 to 21, higher scores indicating greater severity) at 24 months. Secondary outcomes were cure or improvement, other pelvic floor symptoms, condition specific quality of life, women’s perception of improvement, pelvic floor muscle function, uptake of other urinary incontinence treatment, PFMT self-efficacy, adherence, intervention costs, and quality adjusted life years.
Results Mean ICIQ-UI SF scores at 24 months were 8.2 (SD 5.1, n=225) in the biofeedback PFMT group and 8.5 (SD 4.9, n=235) in the PFMT group (mean difference −0.09, 95% confidence interval −0.92 to 0.75, P=0.84). Biofeedback PFMT had similar costs (mean difference £121 ($154; €133), −£409 to £651, P=0.64) and quality adjusted life years (−0.04, −0.12 to 0.04, P=0.28) to PFMT. 48 participants reported an adverse event: for 23 this was related or possibly related to the interventions.
Conclusions At 24 months no evidence was found of any important difference in severity of urinary incontinence between PFMT plus electromyographic biofeedback and PFMT alone groups. Routine use of electromyographic biofeedback with PFMT should not be recommended. Other ways of maximising the effects of PFMT should be investigated.
Trial registration ISRCTN57756448.
- pelvic floor muscle training