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We perform a number of neuromuscular tests at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Most of the links provided below refer to topics on our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website:

  • Biopsy is the removal of a piece of skin, muscle or nerve to diagnose a muscle or nerve disorder.
  • Electromyography (EMG) is a test that assesses a muscle's health and the nerves controlling it. It is useful in diagnosing conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or myasthenia gravis.
  • Nerve conduction studies (NCS) measure the speed with which nerves communicate, and can help diagnose conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Autonomic testing

Autonomic nerves are those that control systems such as blood pressure and sweating. Autonomic nerve testing measures how autonomic nerves respond to various stimuli and can help us diagnose diseases such as diabetic neuropathy, Parkinson's disease, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and fainting.

Our tests record changes in heart rate during deep breathing and the Valsalva maneuver (simultaneously holding your breath and trying to exhale). Blood pressure measurements can be continuously monitored with a finger cuff device. Deep breathing or the application of a medical substance can induce sweating in the hand and leg.

Cardiology can also run a comprehensive tilt-table evaluation, which shows how a patient's heart reacts to a quick change of position and prolonged standing. The patient would lie flat on a special table that will then be rapidly tilted to 65 degrees. Sometimes a doctor may give a patient various medications during the test to help find the best treatment for a patient's fainting episodes.

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