Surface EMG to assess arm function in boys with DMD: a pilot study

Mariska M H P Janssen, Jaap Harlaar, Imelda J M de Groot
Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2015, 25 (2): 323-8

INTRODUCTION: Preserving functional abilities of the upper extremities is a major concern in boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). To assess disease progression and treatments, good knowledge on arm function in boys with DMD is essential. Therefore, feasibility and validity of the use of surface electromyography (sEMG) to assess arm function in boys with DMD was examined.

METHODS: Five boys with DMD and 6 age-matched controls participated in this study. Single joint movements and ADL activities were examined while recording sEMG of main shoulder and elbow muscles.

RESULTS: All boys with DMD and controls were able to perform the non standardized movements of the measurement protocol, however one boy with DMD was not able to perform all the standardized movements. Boys with DMD used significantly more of their maximal muscle capacity for all muscles to conduct movements compared to controls.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: The measurement protocol was feasible to assess arm function in boys with DMD. This tool was able to discriminate between DMD patients and controls.

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