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Acta Physiol Scand. 2001 Jul;172(3):195-203.

Comparison of fatigue produced by various electrical stimulation trains.

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Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA.


Previous work has shown that variable-frequency trains (VFTs) that use an initial doublet to take advantage of the catch-like property of muscle produce more force in fatigued muscle than constant-frequency trains (CFTs); however, it is unclear whether repetitive activation with VFTs is more or less fatiguing than repetitive activation with CFTs. The purpose of this research was to investigate the forces and fatigue produced by various stimulation trains during repetitive isometric muscle contractions. Two force measurements, peak force and force-time integral, were used to measure the performance of the human quadriceps muscle. Three fatiguing protocols, each consisting exclusively of either CFTs, trains with an initial doublet (VFTs), or trains with doublets separated by longer intervals [doublet-frequency trains (DFTs)], were tested. In addition, force responses to each of the three train types were tested before and immediately following each fatiguing protocol. Regardless of the fatiguing protocol, the doublet-frequency testing trains produced the greatest peak forces and force-time integrals before and immediately following the fatiguing protocols. Repetitive activation with exclusively DFTs produced greater attenuation of the testing trains than repetitive activation with CFTs or VFTs. These results suggest that clinical applications of electrical stimulation to activate skeletal muscle may need to contain a combination of train types to optimize performance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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