How does limb temperature affect the results of electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies?

Updated: Aug 20, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA; Chief Editor: Jonathan P Miller, MD  more...
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Answer

Limb temperature is a very important factor during electrodagnostic studies. Skin temperature should be between 32º C and 34º C. During nerve conduction studies cooler temperatures can lead to prolonged distal latencies, slowed nerve conduction velocities, increased amplitude, and increased duration potentials. Temperatures below 32º C can also lead to increased duration, amplitude, and phases of motor unit action potentials during the needle study. Ideal limb temperature can be maintained using warm water, heating lamp, warm packs, or hydrocollator.


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