A needle electrode that is attached by wires to a recording machine is inserted into a muscle.
When the electrodes are in place, the electrical activity in that muscle is recorded while the muscle is at rest. Then the technologist or doctor asks you to tighten (contract) the muscle slowly and steadily. This electrical activity is recorded.
The electrode may be moved a number of times to record the activity in different areas of the muscle or in different muscles.
The electrical activity in the muscle is shown as wavy and spiky lines on a video monitor and may also be heard on a loudspeaker as machine gun-like popping sounds when you contract the muscle.
Nerve conduction studies
In this test, several flat metal disc electrodes are attached to your skin with tape or a paste. A shock-emitting electrode is placed directly over the nerve, and a recording electrode is placed over the muscles controlled by that nerve. Several quick electrical pulses are given to the nerve, and the time it takes for the muscle to contract in response to the electrical pulse is recorded. The speed of the response is called the conduction velocity.
DocNeuro told me to bring distractions, so I took Tot to BabiesRUs for a Mehmo (Elmo) and well........
we went home with something else!
So that's the super fun day we had today. Poor Andrew. He screamed his face off during the nerve conduction even though it wasn't painful (Nurse put it on my arm first to show me just how unpainful it was). I believe he was just scared. Here's his reaction to it -
The EMG, on the other hand, was definitely painful - and no I did not take pictures of it. DocNeuro administered that one. My poor little angel just screamed and cried and it broke my heart. Andrew's thigh was purple and knotted up before we even got him redressed.
The nerve conduction showed nothing, so his nerves are all fine. The EMG showed that whatever desease or disorder he has is, for now atleast, only in his upper arms and shoulders. These are the muscles that we already knew were the weakest on him, but hearing that his legs read normal was great news.
Unfortunately we are no closer to a diagnosis yet. There are hundreds of possible causes for his muscle damage including muscular dystrophy, certain enzyme defficiencies, myositis, dozens of different myopathies - seriously HUNDREDS of things can cause his symptoms. We have an EKG scheduled for Thursday, as well as a consult with a Geneticist. If his EKG comes out fine then a muscle biopsy will likely be the next test. If there is damage to his heart, then the testing will go a whole different direction.
On top of all this, Little has to have hernia surgery! This poor baby boy just can't seem to catch a break. Fortunately Vanderbilt is wonderful at coordinating care and DocNuero said that we can most likely take the muscle biopsies at the same time as his surgery with the Urologist.
Please keep us all in your prayers - this is just a nightmare. I want each one of you to praise God in His graciousness for giving you healthy children. I don't ever, EVER want you to know what this feels like. We've been told Andrew's condition could be terminal, could be a simple fix with a daily pill, may be a lifelong struggle, or may just be a small hurdle in what will otherwise be a long and healthy life. The wait to find out what it will be is absolute torture. Rosie, Jessica, and the rest of you with your own medically challenged kiddos - you're in my prayers.