Methods for estimating muscle fibre conduction velocity from surface electromyographic signals

  • D. FarinaEmail author
  • R. Merletti


The review focuses on the methods currently available for estimating muscle fibre conduction velocity (CV) from surface electromyographic (EMG) signals. The basic concepts behind the issue of estimating CV from EMG signals are discussed. As the action potentials detected at the skin surface along the muscle fibres are, in practice, not equal in shape, the estimation of the delay of propagation (and thus of CV) is not a trivial task. Indeed, a strictly unique definition of delay does not apply in these cases. Methods for estimating CV can thus be seen as corresponding to specific definitions of the delay of propagation between signals of unequal shape. The most commonly used methods for CV estimation are then reviewed. Together with classic methods, recent approaches are presented. The techniques are described with common notations to underline their relationships and to highlight when an approach is a generalisation of a previous one or when it is based on new concepts. The review identifies the difficulties of CV estimation and underlines the issues that should be considered by the investigator when selecting a particular method and detection system for assessing muscle fibre CV. The many open issues in CV estimation are also presented.


Electromyography Delay estimators Spatial filters End-of-fibre components Conduction velocity 


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© IFMBE 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Elettronica, Laboratorio di Ingegneria del Sistema Neuromuscolare (LlSiN)Politecnico di TorinoTorinoItaly

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