Kansas City,
14:10 PM

EMG lab adds highest possible accreditation to unique credentials

Dr. Matt McLaughlin

The Children’s Mercy Electromyography (EMG) Lab—the first and only exclusively pediatric EMB lab in the country to be accredited—is now the sole pediatric-only EMG lab in the U.S. to achieve “Exemplary Status.”

Exemplary Status is the highest possible accreditation granted by the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM). There are 200-plus accredited labs in the country (approximately 300 with satellite locations), but only six in Missouri and two in Kansas.

“This achievement ensures that all of the patients seen at our EMG Lab will be treated by a subspecialist who maintains a board certification in Electrodiagnostic Medicine, which is an extremely challenging board to pass,” said Matthew McLaughlin, MD, MS, Medical Director of the EMG Lab, part of the Division of Rehabilitation. “This is unique for a pediatric hospital, and shows that we produce the highest-quality EMGs in the country.”

EMG is a diagnostic tool used to identify disorders of nerves and muscles. Pediatric patients are referred to the EMG lab with symptoms such as abnormal movements, muscle cramps, numbness, tingling, weakness, muscle pain, double vision, and droopy eyelids. CM conducts 150-200 EMGs a year, including inpatient and outpatient.

EMGs are commonly conducted on adults with carpal tunnel syndrome, “But that’s not a condition we see frequently in the pediatric world,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “That’s why our accreditation as a pediatric-only EMG Lab is so significant; there are certain conditions that are more prevalent in pediatrics that a electromyographer who is not focused exclusively on children might not be as familiar with. We diagnose Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophies in addition to all the other nerve and muscle-related conditions we see in our lab.”

Dr. McLaughlin explained that EMG studies are used for two types of evaluations: one involves electrodes, similar to small acupuncture needles that are inserted through the skin into the muscle. Electrical activity picked up by the electrodes is displayed on a monitor in the form of waves. EMGs also are used to measure the amount and speed of an electrical impulse through a nerve. Both procedures help detect the presence, location and extent of damage to nerves and muscles.

“The results drive a treatment course or help the referring team narrow down the diagnosis to whether a patient has a condition involving a nerve, muscle or the neuromuscular junction,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “This can be one small piece of an overall diagnostic picture, or other times it provides the exact answer that we need.”

EMGs are essentially real-time tests, so results are generated instantaneously.

“We have a very quick turn-around time,” Dr. McLaughlin said. “Depending on the root cause, we always send a report to the referring provider within the same day, so that they have the ability to continue or modify the treatment plan.”

Children’s Mercy conducts EMGs at both the Adele Hall Campus and Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas.

Achieving AANEM Exemplary Status accreditation and American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (ABEM) certification, “Is a testament to your high level of knowledge and expertise,” said Anna Vredenburg, AANEM Professional Standards Senior Coordinator. “Each of those accomplishments highlights your commitment to better patient care and safety.”


Read the article via Children's Mercy's medical newsletter.

Learn more about the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine at Children's Mercy.