Pitfalls and errors in measuring jitter.
The safety factor of neuromuscular transmission can be assessed by measuring the neuromuscular jitter, which reflects the time variability of processes in the motor end-plate. Jitter is increased in any condition with disturbed end-plate function, such as myasthenic conditions and ongoing reinnervation. Jitter is increasingly being measured with concentric needle (CN) electrodes, which are more prone to artefacts than single fiber EMG recordings. The objective of this review is to identify and demonstrate pitfalls that can be seen with CN jitter measurements, made with both voluntary activation and electrical stimulation. With voluntary activation, errors are caused by poor signal quality; inappropriate time reference points on the signal; an irregular firing rate; and signals with dual latencies, i.e., "flip-flop." With electrical stimulation, additional errors result from insufficient stimulation intensity; from abrupt change in firing rate; and from axon reflexes. Many pitfalls cannot be avoided during recording and can only be detected during post-processing. It is critical to be aware of these artefacts when measuring jitter with CN electrodes.
Stålberg, E; Sanders, DB; Kouyoumdjian, JA
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