The motor unit content and the dimensions of individual motor unit action potentials were studied in 17 patients with acute idiopathic polyneuritis from one week to 9 1/2 years after the onset of the illness. An initial decrease in motor unit numbers is followed by a progressive increase with the passage of time from the onset of the illness. The latencies, areas, amplitudes, and durations of individual motor unit potentials were increased above normal values. The results suggest the presence of significant axonal damage in the majority of cases of acute idiopathic polyneuritis. The intramuscular nerve fibres are the site of most severe electrophysiological dysfunction in this study.
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