Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas S. Gardenhire, EdD, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC

Second Advisor

Kyle Brandenberger, PhD

Third Advisor

Rachel Culbreth, PhD, MPH, RRT


Objectives: Patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) are at a higher risk for developing muscle weakness, which is associated with prolonged recovery, poor quality of life, and greater rates of mortality. This study mimicked changes we expect to see in patients with clinical weakness by manipulating blood flow to determine whether mechanomyography is sensitive enough to detect the expected change. Methods: Recreationally active individuals (n = 10) were recruited for this study. Stimulating electrodes and an accelerometer were placed on the muscle belly of the extensor carpi radialis and tibialis anterior. Muscles were stimulated at a rate of 2, 4, and 6, Hz for three minutes each at 60mA. Two trials were performed for each muscle, one with and one without occluded muscle blood flow. Results: Accelerations (muscle twitch height) decreased in the extensor carpi radialis (0.944 ± 0.188g, p < 0.001) and tibialis anterior (0.515 ± 0.198g, p = 0.018) when blood flow was occluded compared to the normal blood flow trials. The normal blood flow trial accelerations were higher in the extensor carpi radialis compared to the tibialis anterior (1.173 ± 0.242g, p < 0.001). After data were normalized these differences were no longer significant. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate accelerometer based mechanomyography can differentiate between fatigue associated with impaired blood flow to the muscle. Future research should examine whether accelerometer based mechanomyography can distinguish muscle quality in clinically relevant populations.

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