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Can J Anaesth. 1990 Apr;37(3):307-12.

Correlation between integrated evoked EMG and respiratory function following atracurium administration in unanaesthetized humans.

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Department of Anaesthesia, St. Joseph's Hospital, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


In six healthy volunteers, integrated evoked electromyography (IEEMG) measured in response to ulnar nerve stimulation was correlated with respiratory function-tidal volume (VT), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), maximum negative inspiratory pressure (NIP), hand grip (HG) and head-lift during steady-state infusion of subparalytic doses of atracurium. Studies were carried out at train-of-four T4/T1 = 0.2 and T4/T1 = 0.6. When T4/T1 = 0.2, all subjects had difficulty with swallowing and phonation, none could sustain any head-lift and HG was 26 per cent of control. However, VT was normal, FVC was 80 per cent, FEV1 was 82 per cent, and NIP was 50 per cent of control. AT T4/T1 = 0.6, all assessments of peripheral strength were normal, and all respiratory measurements were not significantly different from control, except for NIP which was 73 per cent of control (P less than 0.05). We conclude that an IEEMG of 0.6, recorded from the hypothenar muscles, in unanaesthetized subjects is consistent with near normal respiratory function.

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