A useful electrophysiological test for diagnosis of minimal conduction block

L. Padua, I. Aprile, P. D'Amico, F. Pauri, M. Sabatelli, P. Caliandro, P. Tonali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the usefulness, sensitivity and specificity of a new neurophysiological test for partial conduction block. Methods. In 17 patients (17 nerves) with clinical pictures strongly suggesting the presence of motor conduction block and 20 healthy subjects (40 nerves), motor nerve conduction studies were performed with the conventional surface technique and with a new technique developed by us: the single fiber EMG (SFEMG) conduction block test. Moreover, we also evaluated patients with other neurological diseases. The recent American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AAEM) consensus criteria for partial conduction block were used for the standard conduction block tests. Results: According to AAEM consensus criteria, 5/17 cases presented 'definite' partial conduction block and 6 presented 'probable' partial conduction block. In contrast, 16/17 cases (94%) presented evidence of conduction block at the SFEMG conduction block test. The 5/6 cases that did not fulfill in the AAEM criteria and that presented abnormal findings at SFEMG nerve conduction test could be considered affected by minimal conduction block. The sensitivity of this new test was greater than conventional test. The specificity was 100% (no abnormal findings in healthy subjects or patients with diseases other than neuropathy). Conclusions: The SFEMG conduction block test is a sensitive, complementary, technique for diagnosis of minimal conduction block in patients with normal findings in standard nerve conduction studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1048
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Conduction block
  • Nerve conduction
  • Neuroapraxic block
  • Single fiber EMG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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