Generator sites for spontaneous activity in neuromyotonia. An EMG study

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1996 Apr;101(2):69-78. doi: 10.1016/0924-980x(95)00235-d.


A 16-year-old female patient with symptoms and signs compatible with neuromyotonia was studied with various neurophysiological tests and with muscle biopsy. Nerve conduction studies revealed signs of axonal motor neuropathy. EMG showed denervation in distal muscles, and moderate neurogenic changes in other muscles. Abundant spontaneous motor unit activity was recorded in all muscles. This activity did not disappear upon proximal nerve blockade with local anaesthetics. Based on the shape of spontaneous discharges and their behaviour on nerve stimulation and during voluntary effort, the site of generation was suggested. This varied for different discharges, from proximally in the nerve, to various sites along the intramuscular nerve tree. In some axons there were signs of conduction block proximal to the generation site for the spontaneous discharges. Different axons showed various degrees of abnormality; local hyperexcitability triggering new impulses only after the passage of a preceding impulse, increased hyperexcitability generating spontaneous activity, total impulse blocking, and finally axonal degeneration. Treatment with dihydantoin reduced the spontaneous activity with concomitant clinical improvement.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anesthetics / pharmacology
  • Biopsy
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydantoins / pharmacology
  • Muscle Cramp / drug therapy
  • Muscle Cramp / physiopathology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Myotonia / drug therapy
  • Myotonia / physiopathology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Polysomnography
  • Ulnar Nerve / drug effects


  • Anesthetics
  • Hydantoins