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J Neurosci Methods. 2009 Mar 30;178(1):157-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2008.11.019. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Periodic limb movement screening as an additional feature of Emfit sensor in sleep-disordered breathing studies.

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Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Medical Imaging Centre, Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, Finland.



The standard method for recording periodic limb movements is anterior tibialis electromyography (EMG) but other methods are also used. A new movement sensor Emfit (ElectroMechanical Film) provides information about sleep-disordered breathing but also shows movements in bed. The aim of the study was to investigate the usability of a small Emfit sensor in revealing periodic movements.


Twenty seven consecutive patients were studied. Periodic movements in EMG and Emfit were scored blindly and periodic leg movement index (PLMI) for EMG and periodic movement index (PMI) for Emfit were counted. Spearman's correlation coefficient was used to assess the relationship between Emfit data and EMG results. Sensitivities and specificities were computed for PLMI and PMI levels of 5 and 15 movements/h. Additionally, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were derived and the area under the curve (AUC) was calculated.


The Spearman's correlation coefficient between the PMI of Emfit and the PLMI of EMG was 0.87. The sensitivity of the Emfit sensor to detect periodic limb movements was 0.91 at the level of 5 movements/h and 0.73 when the cut-off level was 15 movements/h. The specificities were 0.75 and 1.00, respectively. AUC in ROC analysis was 0.96 and 0.98 in the levels of 5 and 15 movements/h.


The results suggest that the Emfit sensor might be suitable for screening of periodic limb movements even if the sensor is placed under the thoracic area of the patient in sleep-disordered breathing studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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