The Human Brain : From Neurone to Nervous System

CLINICAL NEUROPHYSIOLOGY : Nerve Conduction Tests


  1. Tests of nerve conduction are used to identify damage to a nerve trunk as a result of pressure, transection or neuropathy, and to may also be used to trace the extent of regeneration of axons following injury.

  2. Motor and Sensory axons can be examined separately, and the tests can be performed on major nerves in upper and lower limbs.

  3. One common disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome is due to pressure on the median nerve within the carpal tunnel (at the wrist), and can be investigated using nerve conduction tests and electromyography.

  4. Other compression syndromes include ulnar nerve compression at the elbow, and peroneal nerve compression at the neck of the fibula. In both cases the nerve can be damaged by external pressure on a section of the nerve overlying bone.

  5. Neuropathies are often the consequence of systemic conditions, such as diabetes or toxins, and usually affect many nerves in the body. Conduction of action potentials is slowed in many nerve trunks as a result of demyelination or axonal retraction.

  6. Key Words: Nerve Conduction Tests, Nerve Compression Syndromes, Neuropathies

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