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Perception of pain during electromyography in children: A prospective study

Journal title
Muscle & nerve
Publication year
Alshaikh, N. M.; Martinez, J. P.; Pitt, M. C.

INTRODUCTION: Electrodiagnostic examination is perceived as a painful examination. An accurate assessment of its discomfort would be valuable to children, their parents, and clinicians. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of pediatric patients seen over 3 months at 1 center. Pain was scored for both nerve conduction studies and needle electromyography (EMG) on validated scales, depending on the child’s age and in comparison with venipuncture. RESULTS: In 100 cases the pain recorded fell within the moderate range on the scoring systems used. Sixty-six percent of patients described the pain to be equivalent or less than that with venipuncture. EMG of > 1 muscle or a proximal muscle produced more pain in patients <4 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: When discussing the test with patients, the physician should reassure the patient and parents regarding the degree of pain that may be encountered, which is not materially different from venipuncture. Muscle Nerve 54: 422-426, 2016.

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