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Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS), Electromyography (EMG) and Repetitive Nerve Stimulation (RNST)

Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) are used to see how fast electrical signals travel through nerves connected to the brain and spinal cord. The results may be used to detect damage or injury to the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which consists of the extracranial nerves and spinal cord.

Nerve conduction studies are recommended for following diseases:
  • Neuropathy in patients with diabetes mellitus.
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Injury to the nerves
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cervical/lumbar disc prolapse
  • Intake of drugs, which may affect the nerves. (drugs taken for treatment of tuberculosis/ cancer)
  • Guillain Barre Syndrome
  • Hereditary Neuropathy
  • Myasthenia.
Symptoms of nerve involvement:
  • Tingling, numbness of hands/feet.
  • Burning sensation / pain in the hands and feet.
  • Decreased sensation in arms/legs.
  • Weakness /thinning of arms and legs.

Electromyography (EMG) Test is used to measures the electrical activity produced by the muscles, during rest and contraction. Neuromuscular abnormalities can be detected by using this test.

Some common disorders are:
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myopathy
  • Neuropathy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Nerve injuries
  • Cervical/lumbar radiculopathy
  • Motor neuron diseases

The EMG may be done either alone or in combination with nerve conduction studies (NCS) depending on the neurological disorder.

Common symptoms of muscle involvement:
  • Difficulty in climbing stairs.
  • Difficulty in getting up from sitting/squatting position.
  • Difficulty in performing movements like buttoning, breaking chapatis, mixing food, combing hair.
  • Raising hands above the head.

Repetitive Nerve Stimulation (RNST) Repetitive nerve stimulation tests are a special type of nerve conduction study. Rather than a single electric shock, a brief series of shocks is applied to a motor nerve and responses are recorded from a muscle supplied by that nerve. The study is generally performed before and after brief exercise of the muscle. Serial response amplitudes are recorded. Repetitive nerve stimulation is useful for evaluating myasthenia gravis and other disorders of neuromuscular transmission.

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