Uterine Electromyography: A Critical Review

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On the basis of a literature review, this work summarizes uterine animal and human electromyographic information obtained at cellular, myometrial, and abdominal levels during gestation and parturition. We show that both internal and external electromyograms occur in phase with intrauterine pressure increase and exhibit similar spectra, including a slow wave (0.01 < frequency < 0.03 Hz) probably because of mechanical artifacts and a fast wave whose frequency content can be subdivided into a low-frequency band always present in every contraction and a high-frequency band related to efficient parturition contractions. Application of classic spectral techniques to electromyogram envelopes has identified group propagation but not pacemaker areas. However, no time delay or classic propagation has been demonstrated by applying the same spectral techniques to the electromyogram itself, probably because of the nonlinearity and three-dimensional nature of the propagating process. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1993;169:1636-53.)

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