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Diagnostic Tests for Muscle atrophy

Diagnostic Test list for Muscle atrophy:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Muscle atrophy includes:

  • Physical examination
    • Measure body mass index (BMI) - i.e. weight in kg/(height in metres) squared. Anorexia nervosa is less than 17.5 and may feature muscle wasting.
    • Shake hands with person. If the person is unable to relax their handgrip this suggests myotonia (an inability to relax muscles after voluntary contraction). The commonest cause of this is the muscle disease dystrophia myotonica
    • General inspection of the entire body musculature with the person undressed. Compare one side with the other for wasting and try to work out which muscle groups are involved (proximal, distal or generalized, symmetrical or asymmetrical)
    • Inspect for muscle fasciculations (irregular contractions of small areas of muscle which have no rhythmical pattern, are present at rest but not during voluntary movement). This suggests motor neurone disease, motor nerve root compression or peripheral neuropathy
    • Peripheral nervous system examination including muscular tone, power, reflexes, coordination and sensation
    • If muscular tone is reduced this suggests a lower motor neurone lesion such as a lesion of the spinal motor nerves or peripheral nerves
    • If reflexes are decreased or absent this suggests a breach in any part of the motor nerve pathway responsible for muscular contraction and may include peripheral neuropathy, poliomyelitis, spinal muscular atrophy, myasthenia gravis, peripheral vasculardisease, sympathetic dystrophy, herniated disc, early spinal cord tumor and peroneal muscular atrophy
    • If reflexes are increased this may suggest multiple sclerosis, spinal cord tumors, syringomyelia and motor neurone disease
    • If reflexes are normal this may suggest anorexia nervosa, tuberculosis, metastatic malignancy, Addison's disease and hyperthryoidism
    • If there are sensory changes this may suggest peripheral neuropathy, Guillain- Barre syndrome, Friedrich's ataxia, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, a herniated disc, spinal cord tumor, peroneal muscular atrophy and syringomyelia
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood count and ESR
    • Electrolytes
    • ANA autoantibodies to rule out systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Serum protein electrophoresis
    • Syphilis serology, if indicated
    • Muscle enzymes
    • Acetylcholine receptor antibody titre, if suspect myasthenia gravis
    • Serum Creatinine phosphokinase in child not walking be 18 months if suspect Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Urine tests
    • Urinalysis
    • 24 hour collection for Creatinine and creatine
  • Radiological investigations
    • CT or MRI of brain or spine
  • Nerve conduction velocity tests of the involved limb
  • Electromyogram (EMG) of the involved limb
  • Spinal tap - may be necessary for spinal fluid analysis.
  • Muscle biopsy - may be necessary.
  • Tensilon (edrophonium) test - if suspect myasthenia gravis.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Muscle atrophy:

The following list of conditions have 'Muscle atrophy' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Muscle atrophy or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Muscle atrophy:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Muscle atrophy' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.


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