May 14, 2005

Methods and clinical value of peripheral nerve refractory period measurement in man

Neurophysiologie clinique = Clinical neurophysiology
D BoërioJ-P Lefaucheur


Immediately after action potential occurrence, owing to transient sodium channel inactivation, axon excitability is reduced for a short period of time, including the absolute refractory period, a first period of total inexcitability, followed by the relative refractory period. There are basically two different stimulation protocols to estimate axonal refractoriness, i.e. "paired-pulse" and "collision" techniques. Refractory period has been assessed in various conditions and appeared to depend on several physiological or methodological factors, featuring the type of nerve or the characteristics of the subject, but also the technique of stimulation or the method of data analysis. In addition, refractory periods can be altered by pathological conditions. Several studies showed prolonged refractory periods in patients suffering from alcoholic, diabetic or toxic neuropathies. Refractory period abnormality is a sensitive marker of axonal dysfunction as observed in Guillain-Barré syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome or multiple sclerosis. Thus, the measurement of the refractory periods is a valuable tool to study the pathophysiology of peripheral nerves, complementary to standard nerve conduction studies. However, the application of these...Continue Reading

  • References60
  • Citations2


  • References60
  • Citations2


Mentioned in this Paper

Action Potentials
Refractory Period, Electrophysiological
Refractory Period
Entire Peripheral Nerve
Peripheral Neuropathy

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