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Clin Neurophysiol. 2001 Jun;112(6):1041-8.

A useful electrophysiological test for diagnosis of minimal conduction block.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Catholic University, Largo A. Gemelli 8, 00168, Roma, Italy.



To evaluate the usefulness, sensitivity and specificity of a new neurophysiological test for partial conduction block. METHODS. In 17 patients (17 nerves) with clinical pictures strongly suggesting the presence of motor conduction block and 20 healthy subjects (40 nerves), motor nerve conduction studies were performed with the conventional surface technique and with a new technique developed by us: the single fiber EMG (SFEMG) conduction block test. Moreover, we also evaluated patients with other neurological diseases. The recent American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AAEM) consensus criteria for partial conduction block were used for the standard conduction block tests.


According to AAEM consensus criteria, 5/17 cases presented 'definite' partial conduction block and 6 presented 'probable' partial conduction block. In contrast, 16/17 cases (94%) presented evidence of conduction block at the SFEMG conduction block test. The 5/6 cases that did not fulfill in the AAEM criteria and that presented abnormal findings at SFEMG nerve conduction test could be considered affected by minimal conduction block. The sensitivity of this new test was greater than conventional test. The specificity was 100% (no abnormal findings in healthy subjects or patients with diseases other than neuropathy).


The SFEMG conduction block test is a sensitive, complementary, technique for diagnosis of minimal conduction block in patients with normal findings in standard nerve conduction studies.

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