Comparison of quantitative techniques in anal sphincter electromyography

Muscle Nerve. 2002 Jan;25(1):83-92. doi: 10.1002/mus.10017.


Data comparing results and utility of different quantitative electromyographic (EMG) techniques are limited. In the present study, we analyzed the EMG signal from the external anal sphincter (EAS) muscle using three techniques of motor unit potential (MUP) analysis, and a technique of interference pattern (IP) analysis. We examined 56 patients with damage to the cauda equina or conus medullaris, and 64 control subjects. Using manual-MUP and multi-MUP analysis about 20 MUPs, using a single-MUP technique about 10 MUPs, and using turn/amplitude (T/A) analysis about 20 IP samples were obtained. The sensitivities of these techniques in distinguishing neuropathic from control muscles were calculated. The single-MUP technique detected 63%, manual-MUP 57%, and multi-MUP analysis 62% of neuropathic muscles, and MUP parameters obtained by each of these differed significantly from the other. The sensitivity of T/A analysis of IP was 29%. Our results confirm the need for separate MUP normative data for each of the MUP analysis techniques, and favor them over the IP analysis technique. The normative data presented for the EAS muscle should improve and promote quantitative EMG in patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anal Canal / physiology*
  • Cauda Equina / injuries
  • Electromyography / methods*
  • Electromyography / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology