Predictive power of motor unit potential parameters in anal sphincter electromyography

Muscle Nerve. 2002 Sep;26(3):389-94. doi: 10.1002/mus.10207.


The diagnostic utility of motor unit potential (MUP) parameters is usually based exclusively on their diagnostic sensitivity, disregarding specificity. In the present study, advanced statistical methods were used to determine MUP parameters with the highest predictive power for the separation of neuropathic and normal external anal sphincter (EAS) muscles. Using multi-MUP analysis, 3,720 MUPs from 138 muscles of 52 patients with cauda equina lesion and 2,526 from 112 muscles of 64 controls were obtained. Only two principal components (PCs), which put weight on the MUP area and amplitude, were needed to explain all the data variability. On logistic and probit regression analyses, MUP area, duration, and number of turns gave results identical to all MUP parameters. Our results suggest that only these three MUP parameters are needed, and that they are as effective as PCs, in MUP analysis of chronic neuropathic EAS muscles. Reduced number of MUP parameters is expected to simplify MUP analysis and increase its specificity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / innervation
  • Anal Canal / physiopathology*
  • Cauda Equina / injuries*
  • Cauda Equina / physiopathology
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Polyradiculopathy / diagnosis*
  • Polyradiculopathy / physiopathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests