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Vol. 37 No. 3, May/June 2000

Spectral analysis of surface electromyography (EMG) of upper esophageal sphincter-opening muscles during head lift exercise

Mohammed Ferdjallah, PhD; Jacqueline J. Wertsch, MD; Reza Shaker, MD

Medical College of Wisconsin, Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI 53295

Abstract — Although recent studies have shown enhancement of deglutitive upper esophageal sphincter opening in healthy elderly patients performing an isometric/isotonic head lift exercise (HLE), the muscle groups affected by this process are not known. A shift in the spectral analysis of surface EMG activity seen with muscle fatigue can be used to identify muscles affected by an exercise. The objective of this study was to use spectral analysis to evaluate surface EMG activitites in the suprahyoid (SHM), infrahyoid (IHM), and sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle groups during the HLE. Surface EMG signals were recorded continuously on a TECA Premiere II during two phases of the HLE protocol in eleven control subjects. In the first phase of the protocol, surface EMG signals were recorded simultaneously from the three muscle groups for a period of 20 s. In the second phase, a 60 s recording was obtained for each of three successive trials with individual muscle groups. The mean frequency (MNF), median frequency (MDF), root mean square (RMS), and average rectified value (ARV) were used as spectral variables to assess the fatigue of the three muscle groups during the exercise. Least squares regression lines were fitted to each variable data set. Our findings suggest that during the HLE the SHM, IHM, and SCM muscle groups all show signs of fatigue; however, the SCM muscle group fatigued faster than the SHM and IHM muscle groups. Because of its higher fatigue rate, the SCM muscle group may play a limiting role in the HLE.

Key Words: dysphagia, electromyography, exercise, muscle fatigue.

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