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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Apr;28(2):217-21. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0b013e31821215cf.

Test-retest reliability of v-wave responses in the soleus and gastrocnemius medialis.

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  • 1Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.


This study was designed to assess the reliability of the first volitional (V) wave, which can be used as a measure of efferent neural drive, while also reflecting reflex excitability. Ten subjects volunteered for one familiarization session followed by an experimental test session and an identical retest session spaced 3 to 8 days apart. V-waves were evoked in the tibial nerve during plantar flexion maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVCs). Test-retest reliability was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), along with standard error of measurement and 95% confidence intervals for the following variables: MVC force, surface electromyogram activity (EMG), and the peak-to-peak V-wave amplitude in soleus (SOL) and gastrocnemius medialis (GM). The superimposed M-wave (MSUP) accompanying V-wave stimulation was also obtained for normalization purposes. Substantial reliability was documented for V/MSUP in both SOL (ICC = 0.86) and GM (0.90), as well as for the non-normalized V-wave in SOL (0.92). Moderate reliability was displayed for the non-normalized V-wave response in GM (0.78). Substantial reliability was also established for EMG/MSUP (>0.82) and MVC force (0.98). This study provides novel evidence that V-wave responses can be consistently measured in the SOL and GM, thus advocating its continued use in future research.

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