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Can J Anaesth. 2007 Jan;54(1):58-72.

Brief review: Neuromuscular monitoring: an update for the clinician.

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Anaesthesia Department, McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada.



To review established techniques and to provide an update on new methods for clinical monitoring of neuromuscular function relevant to anesthesia.


A PubMed search of relevant article for the period 1985-2005 was undertaken, and bibliographies were scanned for additional sources.


There is no substitute for objective neuromuscular monitoring; for research purposes, mechanomyography (MMG) is the gold standard; however, the most versatile method in the clinical setting is acceleromyography since it can be applied at various muscles and has a long track record of clinical utility. Kinemyography is valid to monitor recovery of neuromuscular transmission at the adductor pollicis muscle (AP), whereas phonomyography is easy to apply to various muscles and shows promising agreement with MMG. Monitoring of the corrugator supercilii muscle (CS) may be used to determine the earliest time for tracheal intubation as it reflects laryngeal relaxation better than monitoring at the AP. Recovery of neuromuscular transmission is best monitored at the AP, since it is the last muscle to recover from neuromuscular blockade (NMB). If train-of-four (TOF) stimulation is used, a TOF-ratio > 0.9 should be the target before awakening the patient. If surgery or the type of anesthesia necessitates NMB of a certain degree, e.g., TOF-ratio = 0.25, monitoring of muscles which best reflect the degree of NMB at the surgical site is preferable.


Objective methods should be used to monitor neuromuscular function in clinical anesthesia. Acceleromyography offers the best compromise with respect to ease of use, practicality, versatility, precision and applicability at various muscles. The CS is the optimal muscle to determine the earliest time for intubation, e.g., for rapid sequence induction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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