[Study on the latency difference between compound muscle and sensory nerve action potentials].No To Shinkei. 2001 Jun; 53(6):541-5.NT
In motor nerve conduction studies compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs) appear later than sensory nerve action potentials (SNAPs). This time lag originates from the conduction delay at the distal motor axon, neuromuscular transmission time and muscle action potential induction time. To investigate the latency difference between CMAPs and SNAPs we studied 46 healthy individuals, 46 patients with diabetes mellitus and 33 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, using the lumbrical and interossei recording method. In this method the recording active electrode was placed on the 2nd lumbrical muscle and the reference electrode on the proximal palmar aspect of the index finger. Supramaximal stimulation was given to the median or ulnar nerve trunk at 9-cm proximal to the recording active electrode. The CMAP from the 2nd lumbrical muscle (L) and the SNAP from the digital nerve (N) were recorded after median nerve stimulation, and the CMAP from the 2nd interossei muscles (I) was recorded after ulnar nerve stimulation. The residual latency, which is arbitrary defined as the latency difference (L-N) in this study, was 1.38 +/- 0.15 (mean +/- SD) msec in healthy individuals. About 1 msec of the residual latency is regarded as the time for neuromuscular transmission and the time to evoke muscle activities. Thus, the conduction delay at the distal motor axon was calculated as about 0.4 msec in healthy individuals. The residual latency was relatively constant in 29 diabetic patients without conduction delay across the carpal tunnel, which was defined by the latency difference (L-I) < or = 0.4 msec. Their sensory nerve conduction velocities (calculated from N latency) were always above 40 m/sec. On the other hand in diabetic patients with conduction delay across the carpal tunnel, which was defined by the latency difference (L-I) > 0.4 msec, the residual latency gradually increased as the sensory nerve conduction velocity decreased. Their sensory nerve conduction velocities were mostly less than 40 m/sec. The similar relationship was observed in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome without diabetes mellitus. We consider that the diabetic neuropathy alone doesn't cause the increase of the residual latency. Instead, severe conduction delay across the carpal tunnel decreases the N velocity and increases the residual latency. We can also regard the relationship between the latency difference (L-N) and N velocity as being in inverse proportion. Perhaps the increase of the residual latency was simply caused by the proportional decrease in the conduction velocity at the distal motor axon, not by the special mechanism concerning to the carpal tunnel syndrome. This paper presented the electrophysiological changes seen in the distal segment secondary to the proximal entrapment.