AAEM Minimonograph #13: H reflexes and F waves: physiology and clinical indications

Muscle Nerve. 1992 Nov;15(11):1223-33. doi: 10.1002/mus.880151102.


Motoneurons can be activated both reflexly and antidromically following electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves. These H reflexes and F waves are clinically useful responses which interface at the level of the peripheral nerves and the spinal cord. Because these responses are commonly employed in the electrodiagnostic evaluation of patients, an understanding of their physiology and clinical applications is important. These are reviewed. Reasoning from the physiology, both the value and limitations of H-reflex and F-wave studies are considered for disorders of peripheral nerves, roots, and the central nervous system. Theoretical concepts about the physiology and pathophysiology of the nervous system based on H-reflex and F-wave data are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Forearm
  • H-Reflex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • Reaction Time