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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1997 Dec;63(6):776-9.

The role of quantitative electromyography in inclusion body myositis.

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Department of Neurology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center New York, NY, USA.



Inclusion body myositis is said to have both myopathic and neurogenic features on electrophysiological tests. Twenty one studies from 20 patients with biopsy defined inclusion body myosis, 13 of whom had quantitative electromyography (qEMG), were reviewed to determine if this technique added diagnostic specificity (one patient had both needle EMG and a later study with qEMG before muscle biopsy).


Excessive numbers of polyphasic motor unit potentials (MUPs) (> 12% per muscle) were seen in 11 of the 13 patients. In 10 of 13 patients, mean MUP duration was abnormally reduced (26% to 48%). In three patients, mean MUP duration was abnormally reduced only after polyphasic MUPs were excluded. In all 13 patients, the simple MUP duration was reduced. Myopathy was unequivocally diagnosed in all 13 studies that included qEMG; of the remaining eight patients, the conclusions of the electrophysiological studies without qEMG was myopathy (one), neurogenic (four) or non-diagnostic (three).


There is no evidence of a neurogenic component in inclusion body myosis if qEMG is used. Quantitative EMG is often necessary to make an electrophysiological diagnosis of a myogenic disorder in patients with inclusion body myosis.

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