Better known as NCV testing, Nerve Conduction Velocity testing helps determine the speed at which an electrical impulse moves through your nerve. This electrical test is used to uncover and treat signs of nerve injury. Using electrode patches, your nerve is stimulated, allowing the electrical impulse to be measured as the stimulus occurs. These electrode patches are similar to those used in an electrocardiogram, and they’re attached to the skin over several nerve endings throughout the body.
A mild electrical impulse stimulates one electrode, sending a message to the other electrodes. This electrical activity is what’s used to ascertain the results of the NCV test. More specifically, the distance between electrodes, the travel time between electrical impulses, and the amount of activity detected help calculate the speed of nerve conduction velocity. If a decreased speed of transmission is detected, this is indicative of abnormal nerve pressure or nerve damage.
To rule out muscular or neurological disorders, an EMG is often performed simultaneously. Not only does this allow for a more accurate reading, but it also provides peace of mind. Much like many medical tests, NCV testing isn’t for everyone. Those who have tingling, numbing, or burning sensations are candidates for an NCV test. Carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and other nerve compression disorders are often responsible for these adverse effects. If you’re experiencing pain or any of these symptoms, speak with a health care professional to see if an NCV test is right for you.
Similar to the procedure itself, preparing for an NCV test is a breeze. Once your doctor has gone over the procedure with you, you’ll be asked to sign a consent form. This is the time to clear up any confusion or doubts you may have about the test. You won’t be required to fast before, and the procedure is sedation-free. If you’re taking any medication, be sure to notify your doctor. Most importantly, you’ll need to maintain a normal body temperature while the test is underway. Otherwise, it’ll compromise the results and slow nerve conduction.