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Haemophilia. 2011 Jul;17(4):669-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2516.2010.02466.x. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

SEMG activation patterns of thigh muscles during upright standing in haemophilic patients.

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Department of Sports Medicine, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany.


Although electromyography (EMG) is a common method to evaluate muscle activity, studies utilizing EMG in haemophilic patients are rare. The haemophilic arthropathy, resulting in altered afferent information is expected to cause disturbed activation and inter-muscular coordination patterns in haemophilic subjects. The aim of this study was to determine differences of selected knee muscles between haemophilic patients and non-haemophilic subjects during upright standing. Surface EMG (SEMG) amplitudes of rectus femoris, vastus medialis (VM), vastus lateralis (VL) and biceps femoris (BF) muscles of both sides were measured in 27 haemophilic patients (H) and 26 control subjects (C) while standing on an even surface. Data from both sides were pooled in C, but data of H were subdivided further according to major (H-MA) and minor (H-MI) affected joints. To normalize the data, amplitude ratios (percentage of cumulated activity) were calculated as well. Regardless of whether H-MA or H-MI was compared with C, amplitudes of all extensor muscles reached significantly higher levels in H (P < 0.05). SEMG amplitude ratios also differed between H and C. Independent of subgroup, BF showed significantly reduced activation ratios (P < 0.01). Only the ratios of VM and VL of H-MA could replicate the observed amplitude differences to C (P < 0.05). These findings show that while standing, haemophiliacs maintain the necessary stability demands through increased extensor activities and modulated coordination patterns. Although all thigh muscles of haemophiliacs are characterized by distinct atrophy, increased amplitude levels could be proved for the knee extensor muscles only. Therefore, general atrophy-related effects cannot explain these results.

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