• For Patients and Families

    Your Visit to the Comprehensive Neuromuscular Center

    Our interdisciplinary team is committed to the delivery of care that is timely, efficient and effective, focusing on family-centered care. We have the resources at hand to perform a wide range of tests to evaluate and treat your child’s neuromuscular disorder and the impact that this disorder has on his or her quality of life.

  • Tests and Procedures

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    • Purpose / description: An Arginine Clonidine Test (also called a Growth Hormone Stimulating Test) is done to help diagnose a lack of growth hormone. Arginine and clonidine are two medicines that are given during this test.  An IV catheter (a small tube that goes in the vein) is placed in your child’s hand or arm to give arginine and to take the blood samples. Clonidine is given by mouth. Blood samples are taken to measure the blood levels of each medicine. These samples will tell us if the pituitary gland in the brain is sending out enough growth hormone.
    • Instructions: Your child will not be allowed to eat or drink before the test.
    • Length of test: Three to four hours
    • Purpose / description:  Your child’s bone age is determined by taking an X-ray of the left hand and wrist. When compared to your child’s real age, the doctor can tell how much time your child has left to grow.
    • Instructions:  None
    • Length of test: Five to 10 minutes
    • Purpose / description: A DEXA scan is a test for measuring bone mineral density (or the thickness of the bone).  It is used to predict future risk of bone fracture (breaks). For the test, your child will lie down on an exam table, and a scanner measures the density of the bone while your child lies  still.  It is entirely pain free.
    • Instructions:  Wear loose, metal-free clothing
    • Length of test: 20 minutes
    • Purpose / description: An echocardiogram (echo) is an ultrasound test for viewing the heart. It helps doctors diagnose heart problems. The test is safe and painless. 
    • Instructions:  None
    • Length of test:  About 45 minutes
    • Purpose / description: An MRI of the thigh is done to look at the muscles and fat in the thigh.  Your child will have pictures of the thighs taken in a machine that resembles a rocket ship.  The machine makes loud buzzing and banging sounds but does not touch him.   Your child will be able to watch and listen to a movie during the scan.  Contrast dye is not used for this test so no IV catheter is needed.
    • Instructions: Your child should not increase her activity the day before or the day of the test.
    • Length of test: One hour
    • Purpose / description: A cardiac MRI (MRI of the heart) takes very clear pictures of the heart and blood vessels in the chest.  It provides detailed measurements of the heart.
    • Instructions: Your child will have pictures of the heart taken in a machine that resembles a rocket ship.  The machine makes loud buzzing and banging sounds but does not touch her.   Your child will be able to watch and listen to a movie during the scan.  An IV catheter (a small tube that goes in the vein) will be inserted  to give contrast (dye).  If you think that your child may benefit from a small dose of Valium, please call the Neuromuscular Center at 513-803-3000.
    • Length of test: About 90 minutes
    • Purpose / description: A muscle biopsy is an outpatient surgical test that may confirm a diagnosis.  A small sample of muscle will be removed and a dye is applied that shows the presence of dystrophin.
    • Instructions:  Follow the instructions given to you by the surgeon.
    • Length of test: Several hours
    • Purpose / description: The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) measures the body’s use of glucose (sugar), which is the body’s main source of energy. Insulin (produced by the pancreas) helps the body use glucose. People with certain disorders do not use or produce insulin well. Therefore, the body cannot use its glucose.
      • An IV catheter (a small tube that goes in the vein) is placed in your child’s hand or arm.  Blood samples are taken from this tube. This IV catheter will remain in until the testing is done. Your child will then drink a sweet beverage, and blood samples are taken to measure the glucose / insulin levels.
    • Instructions: Your child may not eat before this test.
    • Length of test: Two to three hours
    • Purpose / description: A pulmonary function test finds out how well your child’s lungs work. The test measures how much air the lungs can hold and how fast the air moves in and out of the lungs. It also measures how strong the lung muscles are and how strong your child can cough.
    • Instructions:   Your child should be well rested
    • Length of test: 40 minutes
    • Purpose / description: Sometimes it is necessary to observe a child’s sleep in a sleep laboratory to understand problems that could be causing sleep disorders.  A test called a polysomnography (PSG) measures the different stages of sleep and is used to help diagnose sleep problems.
      • Specific measurements of breathing, brain activity, muscle movements, eye movements and leg movements are taken while your child is sleeping.  The sleep study does not involve  painful procedures. All measurements are taken using small sticky discs/clips applied to the skin and belts around the chest.
    • Instructions: One parent or guardian must stay with your child during this test.  A twin-sized bed is provided. You and your child will be admitted to the Sleep Lab the evening before and released from the Sleep Lab the next morning.
    • Length of test: All night
    • Purpose / description: X-rays of the spine are done to check your child for curvature (scoliosis) or fractures of the spine.
    • Instructions:  None
    • Length of test: Five minutes
  • Guest Services

    Comprehensive Neuromuscular Center at Cincinnati Children's.

    Families traveling to Cincinnati from more than 35 miles outside of city limits can receive assistance with lodging, transportation, translation and other needs. Learn more about the services available for out-of-town families.

    Learn More