What is the neurophysiology of electrodiagnosis?

Updated: Jan 27, 2020
  • Author: Adam B Agranoff, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Every practitioner should be well aware of the normal neurophysiologic function of the nervous system. Electrical signals are generated in the brain, pass through the spinal cord, and travel into the peripheral nervous system. These signals are carried down the nerve to the synaptic cleft, where a chemical release of acetylcholine crosses the synaptic cleft to create an electrical discharge in the muscle. This electrical signal causes the muscle to contract.

Neurodiagnostic testing bypasses the brain by delivering an electrical charge to the patient. The equipment then is used to measure several aspects of the body's response to that signal to determine whether it is functioning properly. Location and degree of the injury, acuity, prognosis, and (in some cases) specific diagnosis can be determined through electrodiagnostic testing. [5, 6]

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