Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 4, P513-524, April 1976

“Satellite potentials” and the duration of motor unit potentials in normal, neuropathic and myopathic muscles

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      Time-locked activity in the EMG was studied in normal, neuropathic and myopathic muscles, using the averaging technique. Normal and neuropathic muscles seemed in most cases not to differ with regard to the frequency nor the quality of “satellite signals”, i.e. small and short potentials joining the main component of the MUP with a constant interval, up to 26 ms in duration. In normal muscles 10% of the MUPs and in neuropathic muscles 12% had a satellite, which, when studied, showed no signs of blocking. However, in 2 patients with an apparent old spinal affection both an increased number and an increased latency of satellite signals were found. In the different myopathies studied 45% of the MUPs recorded consecutively were preceded or followed by an often increased number of tiny satellites. Sometimes the satellites joining the myopathic MUP formed a long (up to 60 ms) “tail” after the triggering component. On the basis of our results we conclude that in myopathies the total duration of MUPs is in certain cases pathologically increased rather than decreased.
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