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Open Access Research article

H-reflex amplitude asymmetry is an earlier sign of nerve root involvement than latency in patients with S1 radiculopathy

Hesham N Alrowayeh1* and Mohamed A Sabbahi2

Author Affiliations

1 Kuwait University, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Physical Therapy Department, State of Kuwait

2 Texas Woman's University, School of Physical Therapy, Houston, Texas, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:102  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-102

Published: 5 April 2011

Abstract

Background

Based on our clinical experience, the H-reflex amplitude asymmetry might be an earlier sign of nerve root involvement than latency in patients with S1 radiculopathy. However, no data to support this assumption are available. The purpose of this study was to review and report the electrophysiological changes in H-reflex amplitude and latency in patients with radiculopathy in order to determine if there is any evidence to support the assumption that H-reflex amplitude is an earlier sign of nerve root involvement than latency.

Results

Patients with radiculopathy showed significant amplitude asymmetry when compared with healthy controls. However, latency was not always significantly different between patients and healthy controls. These findings suggest nerve root axonal compromise that reduced reflex amplitude earlier than the latency parameter (demyelination) during the pathologic processes.

Conclusion

Contrary to current clinical thought, H-reflex amplitude asymmetry is an earlier sign/parameter of nerve root involvement in patients with radiculopathy compared with latency.