Automated Processing of Single-Channel Surface Electromyography from Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizures to Inform Semiology

Damon P. Cardenas, Jonathan J. Halford, Luke E. Whitmire, Lola C. Morgan, Octavian V. Lie, Gina M. Jetter, Jose E. Cavazos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose:Advances in surface electromyography (sEMG) monitoring allow for long-term data collection in a natural environment, giving objective information that may identify risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy and guide clinical decision-making. Generalized tonic-clonic seizure semiology, namely motor tonic and clonic phase duration, may be an important factor in determining the level of seizure control and risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. This study demonstrates a quantitative analysis of sEMG collected with a dedicated wearable device.Methods:During routine monitoring, 23 generalized tonic-clonic seizures from 19 subjects were simultaneously recorded with video-EEG and sEMG. A continuous wavelet-transform was used to determine the frequency components of sEMG recorded during generalized tonic-clonic seizures. An automated process, incorporating a variant of cross-validation, was created to identify ideal frequencies and magnitude ranges for tonic and clonic phases and determine phase durations. Phase durations determined using sEMG analysis were compared with phase durations determined by independent epileptologists' review of video-EEG.Results:Cross-validation revealed that the optimal frequency bands for tonic and clonic phases are 150 to 270 Hz and 12 to 70 Hz, respectively. The average difference in phase duration calculated using the two methods for tonic and clonic phases and total seizure duration were -0.42 ± 4.94, -5.12 ± 9.68, and -5.11 ± 11.33 seconds, respectively (results presented are TsEMG - TvEEG, ± σ).Conclusions:The automated processing of sEMG presented here accurately identified durations of tonic, clonic, and total motor durations of generalized tonic-clonic seizures similar to durations identified by epileptologists' review of video-EEG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Automated processing
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizure semiology
  • Tonic-clonic
  • Wearable
  • sEMG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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