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Localized bioimpedance to assess muscle injury”
L Nescolarde, J Yanguas, H Lukaski, X Alomar, J Rosell-Ferrer and G Rodas
Physiol Meas. 2013 Feb; 34(2): 237-45. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/34/2/237

In sports medicine, assessment of the severity of an athlete’s muscle injury and readiness for return-to-play are important concerns. Researchers in Spain and the United States examined the role of localized bioimpedance vector analysis (BIVA) in managing lower limb muscle injury in professional football (soccer) players.

Male footballers from Futbol Club Barcelona underwent BIVA of their lower limb skeletal muscles, at rest. A 50 kHz, tetrapolar phase-sensitive device (BIA-101, Akern) was used. When these athletes suffered lower limb muscle damage, the injuries were characterized and graded for severity according to results of 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging. BIVA of the injured muscle was performed 24 h after injury and during the recovery period. Three such athletes, one each with grade I, II, and III severity injuries, were analyzed for this study.

The analysis showed that injury displaced the bioimpedance vector from its healthy preinjury position, with reductions in both resistance (R) and reactance (Xc). Over the course of recovery, these values gradually returned to near-normal, so that the bioimpedance vector at return-to-play was almost in its original position. The authors concluded by noting that their “preliminary findings indicate the prognostic value of localized BIA to identify common injuries in football and to characterize the severity of the injury. It is a practical method for field assessment of muscle injuries and could be an alternative method to monitor recovery and contribute to clearance to return-to-play.”


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“Effects of muscle injury severity on localized bioimpedance measurements”
L Nescolarde, J Yanguas, H Lukaski, X Alomar, J Rosell-Ferrer and G Rodas
Physiol Meas. 2015; 36:27–42. doi:10.1088/0967-3334/36/1/27

The severity of skeletal muscle injuries can be assessed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but this method is costly and not readily available outside of hospitals. The availability of a portable diagnostic test would be useful, especially for professional athletes who require an immediate diagnosis of the extent of injury. Nescolarde and colleagues tested the possibility of using localized bioimpedance analysis (BIA) to assess muscle damage in professional football (soccer) players.

In the study, 21 athletes from Futbol Club Barcelona underwent both MRI and BIA 24 h after lower limb injuries affecting the quadriceps, hamstring or calf muscles. MRI classified the injuries as 11 cases of grade I (minor strain or injury), 8 cases of grade II (partial rupture, moderate injury), and 2 cases of grade III (complete rupture, severe injury). BIA values of resistance (R, indicating fluid distribution), reactance (Xc, indicating cell structure integrity), and phase angle were compared between the injured muscle and the contralateral healthy muscle in each athlete. A tetrapolar phase-sensitive bioimpedance analyzer (BIA 101 Anniversary Sport Edition, Akern) was used.

All three BIA measures were lower in the injured muscles than in the contralateral muscles. For grade I injuries, the mean values in R, Xc, and PA were lower by −10.4%, −17.5%, and −9.0%, respectively, and the change in Xc was significant. For grade II injuries, the percentage reductions were −18.4%, −32.9%, and −16.6%. The two cases of grade III injury had even greater changes.

The authors concluded that localized BIA can be used to characterize muscle injuries in professional athletes, noting that the “most significant change is evidenced by Xc, 24 h after injury, showing a pattern in line with the severity of the injury, while variations in R are not as indicative.”

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