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Monograph: Volume conduction: Extracellular waveform generation in theory and practice
Monograph: Volume conduction: Extracellular waveform generation in theory and practice
Abstract
The extracellular waveform manifestations of the intracellular action potential are the quintessential diagnostic foundation of electrodiagnostic medicine, and clinical neurophysiology in general. Volume conduction is the extracellular current flow and associated voltage distributions in an ionic conducting media, such as occurs in the human body. Both surface and intramuscular electrodes, in association with contemporary digital electromyographic systems, permit very sensitive detection and visualization of this extracellular spontaneous, voluntary, and evoked nerve/muscle electrical activity. Waveform configuration, with its associated discharge rate/rhythm, permits the identification of normal and abnormal waveforms, thereby assisting in the diagnosis of nerve and muscle pathology. This monograph utilizes a simple model to explain the various waveforms that may be encountered. There are a limited number of waveforms capable of being generated in excitable tissues which conform to well-known volume conductor concepts. Using these principles, such waveforms can be quickly identified in real time during clinical studies.

Objectives: 

The objectives of this activity are to: 
1) Understand the theoretical basis of volume conduction to permit distinction between physiologic signals and artifact when performing electrodiagnostic recordings;
2) Be able to apply the knowledge of volume conduction to obtain optimal recordings from nerve conduction studies;
3) Be able to apply the knowledge of volume conduction to obtain optimal recordings on needle electromyography.


ACCREDITATION STATEMENT
The AANEM is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
S.D.N. is an employee of Natus Medical, Inc. No payment was provided to any of the authors pursuant to this publication. None of the authors have a conflict of interest to disclose.

CREDIT DESIGNATION
The AANEM is accredited by the American Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to providing continuing education for physicians. AANEM designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  Credit expires 11/21/2026.
Author
Daniel Dumitru MD, PhD; Sanjeev D. Nandedkar PhD; Paul E. Barkhaus MD
Summary
Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Nov 21, 2026
Cost: Member: $0.00
Non-Member: $15.00
Credit Offered:
1 CME Credit
1 CEU Credit
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