Electroneurodiagnostic (END) technology is the scientific field devoted to the recording and study of electrical activity of the brain and nervous system.
Technologists record electrical activity arising from the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, somatosensory or motor nerve systems using a variety of techniques and instruments.
END technologists prepare patients for procedures, obtain medical histories, record electrical potentials, calculate results, maintain equipment, and may work with specific treatments. They develop a good rapport with patients and comfort them during the recording procedure, which can last from 20 minutes (for a single nerve conduction study) to 8 hours (for an overnight sleep study). END technologists understand neurophysiology and recognize normal and abnormal electrical activity. They act as eyes and ears for specially trained doctors who later review and interpret the data. Considerable individual initiative, reasoning skill, and sound judgement are all expected of the electroneurodiagnostic professional.
Procedures END Techs Perform:
The most common electroneurodiagnostic procedures are the electroencephalogram, the polysomnogram, evoked potential studies, and nerve conduction studies. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is the most known test.
The Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of the on-going electrical activity of the brain. EEGs assist in the diagnosis of various brain disorders and evaluate the effects of head trauma or the consequences of severe infectious disease. EEG information can help surgeons determine surgical treatment of epilepsy and can assure surgeons that the brain receives enough oxygen during surgery on the arteries.
The Evoked Potential (EP) is a recording of electrical activity from the brain, spinal nerves, or sensory receptors that occurs in direct response to external stimuli. EP waveforms require sophisticated computer equipment to extract data that will allow physicians to determine the functional state of these pathways. This test is commonly performed by the technologist during surgery on the spine to help the surgeon make sure nerves are not damaged during the operation.
The Polysomnogram (PSG) is a special electroneurodiagnostic procedure that uses EEG and other physiologic monitors to evaluate sleep and sleep disorders. Physicians use Sleep tests to identify dysfunction in sleep/wake cycles, to diagnose breathing disorders during sleep, and to evaluate treatment of these disorders.
Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) evaluate electrical potentials from peripheral nerves. Technologists stimulate the nerve with an electrical current and then record how long it takes the nerve impulse to reach the muscle.
Students must have actively inquiring minds, above average intelligence, and a willingness to engage in life-long learning. Students must also have tact, patience, and compassion. Manual dexterity and a capacity to deal with visual, electrical, and computer concepts are important. They must be high school graduates with strong backgrounds in biology, human anatomy, mathematics, and grammar. Successful technologists are usually in the upper third of their high school class.
Today's END curriculum includes EEG, evoked potentials and at least an introduction to nerve conduction and polysomnography. Some two-year colleges are developing a degree program in polysomnography. The Board of Trustees of the American Society of Electroneurodiagnostic Technologists has declared:
By 2005, any individual entering the END profession must have earned an associate degree or higher and have successfully completed a program reviewed by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Electroneurodiagnostic Technology and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Within two years of graduation, individuals are strongly encouraged to take and pass a recognized, national examination for professional credentials in an area of electroneurodiagnostic specialty.
The competency standard for END is successful completion of national board examinations for professional credentials. Professional credentials are available in EEG, evoked potentials, intraoperative monitoring, polysomnography, and nerve conduction studies.
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Last updated: December 2001