Nerve Conduction Velocity Test - Experience

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What is a nerve conduction velocity test?

A nerve conduction velocity test (NCV) is an electrical test that is used to determine the adequacy of the conduction of the nerve impulse as it courses down a nerve. This test is used to detect signs of nerve injury.

In this test, the nerve is electrically stimulated, and the electrical impulse 'down stream' from the stimulus is measured. This is usually done with surface patch electrodes (they are similar to those used for an electrocardiogram) that are placed on the skin over the nerve at various locations. One electrode stimulates the nerve with a very mild electrical impulse. The resulting electrical activity is recorded by the other electrodes. The distance between electrodes and the time it takes for electrical impulses to travel between electrodes are used to calculate the speed of impulse transmission (nerve conduction velocity). A decreased speed of transmission indicates nerve disease or abnormal pressure on the nerve. A nerve conduction velocity test is often done at the same time as an electromyogram (EMG). An EMG is carried out in order to exclude or detect muscle conditions which may be present due to muscular or neurologic disease.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: patty j., 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 26

I have pain going down the back of both my legs all the way to my heels. Some mornings I can't even get out of bed until I take my medicines. I also have neck and lower back pain, I am having a nerve conduction study done. They stuck me with needles with shock on my legs and feet. I go back tomorrow so they can do my arms. They said this was for my back, I don't understand what poking my arms is going to tell them about my back.

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Comment from: Hospitalmistake, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

I had a total knee replacement and during the surgery, the anesthesiologist made a mistake while administering my femoral nerve block. My thigh and top part of leg is numb and I cannot lift my leg. Over a month later, I had an EMG (electromyogram) and NCS (nerve conduction study). The doctor who performed my tests said my EMG looked good. I didn't feel the needles. He performed the NCS on the opposite leg and it was somewhat painful. He apparently conducted the same test on my affected leg and I didn't even know he had tested it. I was just looking at these flat lines on the monitor when he said, 'there's nothing there.' I looked at him in shock because I felt absolutely nothing. After the test, the doctor who performed the test and a neurosurgeon informed me that I was showing improvement already. I looked at them both and asked how that was possible since this was the first time I had been tested. I asked if this wouldn't be my baseline. They sheepishly agreed and told me that if there was no change when I return for same test in 8 weeks, they would have to perform surgery to repair femoral nerve. Did I mention that both doctors work for the hospital that made the mistake in the first place!

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