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Nerve Conduction Studies: Clinical Challenges and Engineering Solutions

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3 Author(s)
Xuan Kong ; Department of Electrical Engineering, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois. ; Eugene A. Lesser ; Shai N. Gozani

Nerve conduction studies (NCSs) have played an important role in the evaluation of neuromuscular disease for the past 50 years. When patients present with complaints of pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness, NCS is often one of the earliest tests obtained by physicians, because it enables the quantitative assessment of peripheral nerve and muscle function and, therefore, aid the physician in identifying the physiological source of the patient's symptoms. NCSs involve the delivery of electric stimuli to peripheral nerves at accessible locations on the human body and the recording of electrophysiological responses. This article reviews how NCS is traditionally performed. This paper also examines technical challenges associated with each step of performing an NCS and describes how engineering solutions could be realized to meet these challenges. The engineering goals were several: improvement in NCS workflow, use of prefabricated electrode arrays to standardize NCS technique and reduce the errors associated with electrode placement, and improvement of the overall accuracy and reliability of NCS.

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IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 2 )