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Keywords:

  • anaesthesia;
  • minipigs;
  • mechanomyography;
  • reverse fade

Abstract

Objective  To devise a method for assessing evoked muscle strength on nerve stimulation [mechanomyography (MMG)] in the anaesthetized minipig.

Study design  Prospective observational.

Animals  Sixty male Göttingen minipigs weighing 10.5–26.0 kg.

Methods  After cadaveric studies, a limb fixation device was constructed which allowed the twitch responses of the pelvic limb digital extensor muscles to be measured by force-displacement transduction in response to supramaximal train-of-four (TOF) stimulation of the common peroneal nerve. The device was tested in 60 minipigs weighing 10.5–26.0 kg positioned in dorsal recumbency.

Results  The technique recorded the MMG of the common peroneal–pelvic limb digital extensor nerve-muscle unit for up to 12 hours during which twitch height remained constant in 18 animals in which single twitch duration was <300–500 ms. In 42, in which twitch duration was >300–500 ms, 2 Hz nerve stimulation caused progressive baseline elevation (reverse fade) necessitating a modified signal capture method for TOF ratio (TOFR) computation. However, T1 was unaffected. The mean (range) of the TOFR in pigs with reverse fade was 1.2 (1.1–1.3).

Conclusions and clinical relevance  The technique allowed MMG recording in unparalysed pigs in response to TOF nerve stimulation and revealed a hitherto unreported complication of MMG monitoring using TOF in animals: reverse fade. This complicated TOFR calculation.