Stimulation single-fiber EMG in infant botulism.


The principal electrodiagnostic feature of infant botulism, an incremental response on high rates of repetitive nerve stimulation, has variable sensitivity and may not always be useful as a diagnostic test given the vagaries of test timing and severity of illness. We report the use of stimulation single fiber EMG (S-SFEMG) in making this clinical diagnosis. Four infants between 1 and 5 months of age presented with rapidly progressive bulbar and limb weakness, internal and external ophthalmoplegia, areflexia, and compromised ventilation. Incremental response with high-rate repetitive nerve stimulation and a typical clinical course for infant botulism confirmed the diagnosis in all; stool toxin studies were positive for type B botulinum in 2 of the 3 cases in which they were obtained. S-SFEMG was performed by surface stimulation of median and ulnar nerves and recording with a single fiber needle in the thenar, hypothenar, or first dorsal interosseous muscles. A total of eight single fiber recordings were studied at rates of 2, 5, 10, and 20 Hz. All single fibers studies showed an improvement with higher rates of stimulation, beginning at 10 Hz and peaking at 20 Hz. Compared to baseline study at 2 Hz (100%), the mean percent changes in jitter at 5, 10, and 20 Hz were 109, 60, and 47, respectively. This is the first report of the usefulness of S-SFEMG in the diagnosis of infant botulism.

Cite this paper

@article{Chaudhry1999StimulationSE, title={Stimulation single-fiber EMG in infant botulism.}, author={Vinay Chaudhry and Thomas O. Crawford}, journal={Muscle & nerve}, year={1999}, volume={22 12}, pages={1698-703} }