F-waves: neurophysiology and clinical value

Neurophysiologie clinique = Clinical neurophysiology
F Mesrati, M F Vecchierini

Abstract

This review deals with F responses, which are late responses obtained by supramaximal stimulation of virtually all the motor and mixed peripheral nerves. They are recorded over a muscle innervated by the stimulated nerve. The first description of F-waves was published in the fifties. Their neurophysiological mechanisms have been abundantly discussed in the literature leading to a current consensus, whereby F-waves are considered as antidromic responses produced by a pool of motoneurons activated by peripheral nerve stimulation. In the first part of this review, the neurophysiological mechanisms of F-waves as well as the distinction between these and H reflexes are described from a historical point of view. Other late responses are intentionally not reported; nevertheless A-waves are discussed since they are frequently ill-described in a number of conditions. Stimulation and recording procedures as well as F-wave parameters analysis are detailed, with emphasis on measures most useful for clinical purposes. A rigorous F-wave recording method is mandatory for reliable and meaningful analyses. Physiological factors, which influence F-waves such as ageing, drugs and sleep, must be known and their effects discussed. Also, as maturati...Continue Reading

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