Sunday, 11 July 2010 23:05

10 Common Mistakes in Sensory Testing

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A sensory exam involves evaluating different types of sensation, including pain, temperature, pressure, and position. For example, pinpricks may be used to test the patient's response to pain and compare the response in different parts or opposite sides of the body. A cold or warm object may be used to test the sensation of temperature. To test position, patients may be asked to close their eyes and determine in which direction the examiner is moving a part of their body (e.g., big toe). Patients also may be asked to identify objects with their eyes closed or identify numbers or letters traced on their body.

· Failure to test the anterior and posterior aspects of the body segment.

· Repeatedly stimulating an area where no response was elicited in the hopes of obtaining a response.

· Verbally cuing the patient with “do you feel that?” during the examination process.

· Assuming an entire dermatome or peripheral nerve distribution is impaired if an abnormal response is obtained from testing only one area in the distribution.

· Failure to test the corresponding area on the opposite extremity.

· Application of the stimulus in a predictable manner.

· Failure to allow the patient adequate time to respond to the stimulus prior to introducing the next stimulus.

· Not performing a sensory exam based on a verbal statement from the patient that he cannot feel anything in a specific area.

· Continuing to test for sensation when the patient appears confused or is giving inappropriate responses during the exam. In this case, the examiner should return to an area where sensation is intact and reintroduce the sensation as well as the appropriate response.

· Testing for just one aspect of sensory system e.g. light touch

Read 4320 timesLast modified on Sunday, 11 July 2010 23:30

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