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Simulation of Surface EMG Signals for a Multilayer Volume Conductor With a Superficial Bone or Blood Vessel

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1 Author(s)
Mesin, L. ; Dipt. di Elettron., Politec. di Torino, Torino

This study analytically describes surface electromyogram (EMG) signals generated by a planar multilayer volume conductor constituted by different subdomains modeling muscle, bone (or blood vessel), fat, and skin tissues. The bone is cylindrical in shape, with a semicircular section. The flat portion of the boundary of the bone subdomain is interfaced with the fat layer tissue, the remaining part of the boundary is in contact with the muscle layer. The volume conductor is a model of physiological tissues in which the bone is superficial, as in the case of the tibia bone, backbone, and bones of the forearm. The muscle fibers are considered parallel to the axes of the bone, so that the model is space invariant in the direction of propagation of the action potential. The proposed model, being analytical, allows faster simulations of surface EMG with respect to previously developed models including bone or blood vessels based on the finite-element method. Surface EMG signals are studied by simulating a library of single-fiber action potentials (SFAP) of fibers in different locations within the muscle domain, simulating the generation, propagation, and extinction of the action potential. The decay of the amplitude of the SFAPs in the direction transversal to the fibers is assessed. The decay in the direction of the bone has a lower rate with respect to the opposite direction. Similar results are obtained by simulating motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) constituted by 100 fibers with territory 5. waves and interference EMG signals are also simulated based on the library of SFAPs. Again, the decay of the amplitude of the simulated interference EMG signals is lower approaching the bone with respect to going farther from it. The findings of this study indicate the effect of a superficial bone in enhancing the EMG signals in the transversal direction with respect to the fibers of the considered muscle. This increases the effect of crosstalk. The same mathematical method used- - to simulate a superficial bone can be applied to simulate other physiological tissues. For example, superficial blood vessels (e.g., basilic vein, brachial artery) can influence the recorded EMG signals. As the electrical conductivity of blood is high (it is of the same order as the longitudinal conductivity in the muscle), the effect on EMG signals is opposite compared to the effect of a superficial bone.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 6 )