Computers and biomedical research vol:21 issue:6 pages:570-578
When an isolated strip of skeletal muscle tissue is held at fixed length and stimulated electrically with a very brief pulse of electricity it responds with a transient increase in tension known as a twitch. If the same strip is stimulated repetitively with short pulses it produces a tension that can be considered to be composed of individual twitches arising from each stimulus. We present a subtractive method for decomposing a muscle tension curve into individual twitches of various heights. The locations of the twitches are known a priori from the times at which each stimulus was applied to the muscle. The shape of each twitch is assumed the same as that of a single twitch obtained just prior to the repetitive stimulation tension signal. We therefore find the heights of the individual twitches composing a tension curve. We find that most of a tension signal from isolated dog diaphragm strips can be accounted for as the sum of twitches of the same shape but different heights. We also derive a refractory factor, for stimulation at a given frequency, that describes how the heights of the twitches in a tension curve are attenuated as a function of stimulation frequency.