Conventional electromyography was used to measure motor unit potential duration in the external anal sphincter in normal subjects and patients with idiopathic faecal incontinence. The results revealed a direct correlation between age and mean motor unit potential duration in control subjects, but no differences between age-matched male and female subjects. Patients with faecal incontinence exhibited prolongation of mean motor unit potential duration compared with matched controls. This technique provided useful quantitative data on reinnervation within the anal sphincter, complementing the results of single fibre electromyography.
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