For Patients: Frequently Asked Questions
Pittsburgh Cardiovascular Institute
200 James Place, 1st Floor
Monroeville, PA 15146
Phone: 412-372-2035 Fax: 412-229-1432

Nerve Conduction and Electromyography


Pittsburgh Cardiovascular Institute provides its patients with electromyography and nerve conduction testing in the convenience of our own outpatient facility. Accurate diagnosis is the key to effective treatment.


There are multiple different types of conditions that affect the nerves in our body. It is now possible to accelerate patient care by eliminating unwanted referrals and long waiting periods for nerve conduction results. Our specially trained technologists use state-of-the-art equipment to accurately evaluate patients on-site for peripheral neuropathies, such as Diabetic Neuropathy, Tarsal Tunnel & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, with great speed and accuracy.


Patients can expect EMG technologists and neurologists who are among the best in their specialties. We emphasize a rapid turn-around time that has results back within 48 hours, and same-day callbacks for critical results.

Test Overview

An electromyogram (EMG) measures the electrical impulses of muscles at rest and during contraction. Nerve


conduction studies, which measure nerve conduction velocity, determine how well individual nerves can transmit electrical signals. Nerves control the muscles in the body using electrical impulses, and these impulses make the muscles react in specific ways. Nerve and muscle disorders cause the muscles to react in abnormal ways.


Measuring the electrical activity in muscles and nerves can help detect the presence, location, and extent of diseases that can damage muscle tissue (such as muscular dystrophy) or nerves (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). In the case of nerve injury, the actual site of nerve damage can often be located. EMG and nerve conduction studies are usually done together to provide more complete information.

Why It Is Done

An electromyogram (EMG) is done to:

  • Diagnose diseases that damage muscle tissue, nerves, or the junctions between nerve and muscle (neuromuscular junctions). These disorders include a herniated disc, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or myasthenia gravis (MG).
  • Evaluate the cause of weakness, paralysis, involuntary muscle twitching, or other symptoms. Problems in a muscle, the nerves supplying a muscle, the spinal cord, or the area of the brain that controls a muscle can all cause these kinds of symptoms.

Nerve conduction studies are done to:

  • Detect and evaluate damage to the peripheral nervous system, which includes all the nerves that lead away from the brain and spinal cord and the smaller nerves that branch out from those nerves. Nerve conduction studies are often used to help diagnose nerve disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • Identify the location of abnormal sensations, such as numbness, tingling, or pain.

Both EMG and nerve conduction studies can help diagnose a condition called post-polio syndrome that may develop months to years after a person has had polio.

How To Prepare

Patients should notify their doctor if:

  • They are taking any medications. Certain medications that act on the nervous system (such as muscle relaxants and anticholinergics) can interfere with an electromyogram (EMG) results. Patients may need to stop taking these medications 3 to 6 days prior to having the test.
  • Have had bleeding problems or are taking medications that thin the blood, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or heparin.
  • Have a pacemaker.

Patients do not need to restrict your food or fluids. Do not smoke for at least 3 hours before the test. Patients should wear loose-fitting clothing that permits access to the muscles and nerves to be tested.