Description of Department/Service

Clinical neurophysiology testing uses computers and electrical signal processing to investigating the function of the brain, spinal cord, spinal roots, peripheral nerves and muscles. The Department in Tallaght offers testing to both adults and children. A close working relationship exists with an array of services and referrals are received from clinicians within Tallaght University Hospital, as well as GPs and other hospitals in our catchment area.

The most common tests performed are electroencephalograms (EEGs) and nerve conduction studies.

Brief explanation of an electroencephalogram (EEG):
An EEG is a clinical test used to evaluate electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells/neurones communicate with each other through electrical impulses. An EEG amplifies these tiny electrical potentials and monitors and records the resultant electrical waveforms. The patterns recorded provide information about brain function and may yield features typical of certain conditions, for example, epilepsy. Small cup shaped discs are arranged at standard intervals across the patient’s scalp, pasted into position and attached to the EEG recording machine. Simultaneous video recording is obtained. The setup and recording is performed by a specialist clinical scientist. The test usually lasts about 1 hour.

We have developed a simple picture booklet for children coming to the Department for EEG testing-please see the link below:
EEG in TUH Patient Information

Nerve conduction studies (NCS)/electromyography (EMG):
NCS use small electrical pulses to stimulate motor and sensory nerves. This test is frequently used to establish the presence of nerve entrapment, frequently carpal tunnel syndrome, but also other conditions in the arms and legs. In some instances, an EMG study may be required. This portion of the study involves the insertion of a very thin needle electrode into a muscle to record the electrical activity.

The department is very active and performs approximately 2,500 tests annually.

The procedures offered by the Department at Tallaght are:

  • Departmental Routine Video Electroencephalography (EEG) 
  • Departmental Video Sleep EEG
  • Routine Nerve Conduction Study
  • Routine Electromyography (EMG)
  • Small Fibre / Thermal Threshold Testing
  • Autonomic Testing
  • Single Fibre EMG Analysis 
  • Visual Evoked Response (VER) Testing
  • Somatosensory Evoked Potential Testing (SSEP)
  • Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response Testing (BAER) 
  • Dermatomal Evoked Potential Testing