Electrically evoked myoelectric signals

Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 1992;19(4):293-340.


Electrical stimulation of the nervous system is attracting increasing attention because of the possibilities it offers for physiological investigations, clinical diagnosis, muscle function assessment, noninvasive muscle characterization, and functional control of paralyzed extremities. Parameters of the myoelectric signal evoked by surface stimulation of a muscle motor point or by stimulation of a nerve trunk by means of implanted electrodes provide information about muscle performance and properties if the stimulation artifact is properly removed or suppressed. Comparison of these parameters with those obtained during voluntary contractions provides additional insight into muscle physiology. The relationships between myoelectric signal amplitude parameters, spectral parameters, and conduction velocity are discussed with special reference to muscle fatigue. This review focuses on a few methodological aspects concerning electrical stimulation of the peripheral nervous system, detection, and processing of the electrically evoked myoelectric signals in skeletal muscles. The state of the art of the following issues is discussed: (1) properties of voluntary and electrically evoked myoelectric signals; (2) techniques for evoking and detecting myoelectric signals; (3) techniques for suppression of stimulation artifacts; (4) effect of stimulation waveforms and electrode properties; (5) signal processing techniques for electrically evoked myoelectric signals; (6) physiological significance of myoelectric signal variables; (7) order of recruitment of motor units during electrical stimulation; (8) myoelectric manifestations of fatigue in electrically stimulated muscles; (9) assessment of crosstalk by electrical stimulation; and (10) applications in sport, rehabilitation, and geriatric medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Electric Stimulation*
  • Electromyography*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*