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Skeletal muscle tension, flow, pressure, and EMG during sustained isometric contractions in humans.


In five healthy males sustained isometric torques during elbow flexion, knee extension, and plantar flexion correlated positively with intramuscular tissue pressure (MTP) in the range 0-80% of the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). During passive compression of the muscle at rest 133-Xenon muscle clearance stopped when MTP reached diastolic arterial pressure (DAP) indicating that the muscle vascular bed was occluded. However, during sustained contraction this relation between DAP, flow and MTP was not seen. In two cases 133-Xenon clearance from M. soleus did not stop in spite of an 80% maximal contraction and MTP stayed below DAP. In other cases MTP would reach as high as 240 mm Hg before clearance was zero. In the deeper parts of the muscles MTP during contraction was increased in relation to the more superficial parts. The means values for the % MVC that would stop MBF varied between 50 and 64% MVC for the investigated muscles. Mean rectified EMG (MEMG) showed a high correlation to MTP during sustained exhaustive contractions: When MEMG was kept constant MTP also remained constant while the exerted force decreased; when force was kept constant both MEMG and MTP increased in parallel. This demonstrated that muscle tissue compliance is decreasing during fatigue. Muscle ischemia occurring during sustained isometric contractions is partly due to the developed MTP, where especially the MTP around the veins in the deeper parts of the muscle can be considered of importance. However, ischemia is also affected by muscle fiber texture and anatomical distorsion of tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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