Symmetry of normal motor and sensory nerve conduction measurements

Muscle Nerve. 1998 Apr;21(4):498-503. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4598(199804)21:4<498::aid-mus8>;2-4.


Nerve conduction measurements in normal subjects are assumed to be symmetric, but the normal limits of symmetry have not been determined. Full data on the limits of symmetry for commonly studied nerves are important in the clinical interpretation of nerve conduction data. We selected normal electrodiagnostic studies from archived electromyographic laboratory reports that included bilateral measurements of motor and sensory nerves. Symmetry of nerve conduction measures was confirmed, and only the median and ulnar sensory nerves had significant deviations from symmetry, supporting subclinical nerve damage in the most common dominant hand. The limits of symmetry were determined by calculating the 95th percentile for the differences between sides. For motor and sensory nerves, the range of 95th percentile limits was narrower for measures in upper extremity nerves compared to lower extremity nerves. Several reasons are offered for the wider limits of symmetry in lower extremity nerves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Median Nerve / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Peroneal Nerve / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Tibial Nerve / physiology
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiology