Canadian Journal of Anaesthesia

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 307–312 | Cite as

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

  • M. D. Sharpe
  • A. M. Lam
  • J. F. Nicholas
  • D. C. Chung
  • R. Merchant
  • W. Alyafi
  • R. Beauchamp
Reports of Investigation


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 sub-paralytic doses of atracurium. Studies were carried out at train-of-fourT4/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 < 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.

Key words

measurement techniques: electromyography neuromuscular relaxants: atracurium lung: function, inspiratory pressure, FVC 


Pendant une perfusion d’atracurium, nous avons mesuré simultanément, la réponse électromyographique (IEEMG) à une stimulation du nerf cubital, le volume courant (VC), la capacité vitale (CV), le volume expiratoire maximal en une seconde (VEMS), la pression inspiratoire négative maximale (PINM), la force de préhension (FP) et l’élévation de la tête de six volontaires bien portant. Lorsque le T4/T1 du train-de-quatre était de 0,2, tous avaient des problèmes de déglutition et d’élocution, aucun ne pourvait garder la tête levée et la FP n’équivalait qu’ à 26 pour cent de sa valeur contrôle. Pourtant le Vc était normal, et la CV était à 80 pour cent, le VEMS à 82 pour cent et la PINM à 50 pour cent du contrôle. Avec un T4/T1 de 0,6, la force des muscles périphériques était normale de même que les mesures de mécanique respiratoire sauf la PINM, à 73 pour cent du contrôle. Donc, avec un IEEMG de 0,6 à l’éminence hypothénar, la fonction respiratoire des sujets conscients est quasiment normale.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Sharpe
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. M. Lam
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. F. Nicholas
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. C. Chung
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Merchant
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Alyafi
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Beauchamp
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesia, St. Joseph’s HospitalUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

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