Quantitative analysis of myokymic discharges in radiation versus nonradiation cases

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Myokymic discharges are classically associated with nerve injury from prior radiation but may occur in other neuromuscular disorders. Using quantitative analysis we aimed to identify the spectrum of conditions in which myokymic discharges are present and determine if there are electrophysiological features that distinguish postradiation from nonradiation causes of myokymia. Methods: We reviewed the clinical history of all patients examined in our electromyography labs with myokymic discharges recorded from June 2017 to February 2020. Quantitative analysis of each myokymic discharge was performed using a custom MATLAB script, assessing features such as burst frequency, spikes per burst, and burst regularity. Results: Eighty-eight distinct myokymic discharges (70 patients) were analyzed: 51 postradiation recordings from 35 patients and 37 recordings from 35 nonradiation patients. The diagnostic spectrum of nonradiation cases was diverse, with common causes being median neuropathy (n = 8), cervical (n = 7), and lumbar (n = 5) radiculopathy, and motor neuron disease (n = 5). On quantitative analysis, postradiation myokymia had an increased burst-to-silence ratio (median, 0.29; nonradiation, 0.08) and greater peak number (median, 15; nonradiation, 7). Except for one patient with hereditary peripheral nerve hyperexcitability, all patients who had two or more muscles demonstrating myokymic discharges belonged to postradiation group. Conclusions: Myokymic discharges can be seen in diverse neuromuscular conditions; most common in our cohort was chronic median neuropathy. Postradiation myokymia appears to have distinguishing morphological features when quantitatively analyzed compared with nonradiation cases.
  • Published In

  • Muscle and Nerve  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Oishi T; Ryan CS; Vazquez Do Campo R; Laughlin RS; Rubin DI
  • Start Page

  • 861
  • End Page

  • 867
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 6