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Motor unit potential change with contraction level: A concentric macro electromyography study



Introduction: Motor unit action potential (MUAP) reference values are usually given per muscle and age group. Our aim was to evaluate the change in MUAP size at different contraction levels using the concentric macro (ConMac) EMG technique. Methods: ConMac needles were used to record the electrode cannula MUAP and measure its amplitude and area during weak, moderate, and strong muscle contractions. Results: MUAP area and amplitude gradually increased from weak to strong contraction levels in all muscles studied. MUAP amplitudes were larger in distal than in proximal muscles, likely because of a higher fiber density distally. Conclusions: MUAP normal values in the literature per muscle do not take into account the contraction level at which they were recorded and can misrepresent the interpretation of normal. Concentric macro EMG is a simple and useful complement to routine EMG studies and yields additional information on MUAP neurophysiology. Muscle Nerve 48: 551–556, 2013