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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2006 Apr;53(4):593-600.

A finite element model for describing the effect of muscle shortening on surface EMG.

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Laboratorio di Ingegneria del Sistema Neuromuscolare (LISiN), Dipartimento di Elettronica, Politecnico di Torino, 10129 Torino, Italy.


A finite-element model for the generation of single fiber action potentials in a muscle undergoing various degrees of fiber shortening is developed. The muscle is assumed fusiform with muscle fibers following a curvilinear path described by a Gaussian function. Different degrees of fiber shortening are simulated by changing the parameters of the fiber path and maintaining the volume of the muscle constant. The conductivity tensor is adapted to the muscle fiber orientation. In each point of the volume conductor, the conductivity of the muscle tissue in the direction of the fiber is larger than that in the transversal direction. Thus, the conductivity tensor changes point-by-point with fiber shortening, adapting to the fiber paths. An analytical derivation of the conductivity tensor is provided. The volume conductor is then studied with a finite-element approach using the analytically derived conductivity tensor. Representative simulations of single fiber action potentials with the muscle at different degrees of shortening are presented. It is shown that the geometrical changes in the muscle, which imply changes in the conductivity tensor, determine important variations in action potential shape, thus affecting its amplitude and frequency content. The model provides a new tool for interpreting surface EMG signal features with changes in muscle geometry, as it happens during dynamic contractions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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