Non-invasive measurement of the input-output properties of peripheral nerve stimulating electrodes.
A non-invasive method was developed to determine the input-output (I/O) properties of peripheral nerve stimulating electrodes. An apparatus was fabricated to measure the 3-dimensional (3-D) isometric torque generated at the cat ankle joint by electrical activation of the sciatic nerve. The performance of the apparatus was quantified, and the utility of the method was demonstrated by measuring the recruitment properties of multiple contact nerve cuff electrodes. Torque-twitch waveforms, recruitment curves of peak torque as a function of stimulus current amplitude, and 2-D joint torque vectors were used to analyze the recruitment properties of the cuff. The peak of the twitch torque was an accurate measure of excitation even for muscles having fibers with varying speeds of contraction. The evoked twitch waveforms and torque vectors generated by selective stimulation of individual nerve branches with a hook electrode were compared to those produced by stimulation of the nerve trunk with the cuff electrode. These data allowed determination of the regions of the nerve trunk that were activated by different electrode geometries and stimulus parameters. The positional stability of electrode recruitment properties could be quantified by measuring I/O characteristics at different limb positions. The methods described are useful for characterization of neural stimulating electrodes and for studies of motor system physiology.
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