Apparatus and simple method of monitoring neuromuscular function

Tsung Yuan Chuang, Thomas Juey Kong Toung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of muscle relaxant is an integral part of anesthetic management in present-day practice. Clinically, the neuromuscular blockade is evaluated by determining the thumb twitching to train-of-four (TOF) ulnar nerve stimulation at elbow. 1-3 There are many ways for the assessment of twitch response, such as the use of electromyography 4,5; force displacement transducer techniques 2,6-9; and most recently, the acceleration transducer-based system of neuromuscular monitoring. 10-15 These equipments are, however, bulky, cumbersome, expensive, or time consuming for operation. Because of these limitations, the routine use of such monitors is impractical. The evaluation of neuromuscular blockade, at the present time, relies on either visual or manual (tactile) thumb twitch responses to the TOF nerve stimulation. Visual or tactile evaluation of neuromuscular blockade is subjective and involves uncertainty, especially in the recovery phase. Furthermore, in certain surgical procedures, such as those on the head and neck, both hands are tucked in the sides of the table and become inaccessible, rendering visual or tactile evaluation of the thumb twitch impossible. In such situation, muscle relaxant is often given in the light of guessing rather than on objective basis. Clearly, there is a need for a simple and practical way of measuring the twitch responses to TOF stimulation during anesthesia. Based on the current method of stimulation of the ulnar nerve over the ulnar groove at the elbow, which elicits a string thumb adduction (because of stimulation of the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle), a simple method that can objectively monitor and record the thumb twitch is developed. The unique features of the method or device are its simplicity and its ability to adapt to any pressure transducer to display the twitch response to TOF simultaneously with electrocardiogram, arterial, or central venous pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-113
Number of pages5
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Taiwanica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • anesthesia
  • neuromuscular blockade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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