Pediatric specific diagnostics, testing and therapies

We are skilled in caring for the special needs of children with neuromuscular conditions. To lessen the anxiety for patients and parents, our team uses a child-friendly approach to our diagnostic testing and therapeutic procedures.

Our approach

We perform tests and treatments with the least invasive and lightest sedation method possible.  We have extensive experience performing lumbar punctures for intrathecal medication administration in patients with spinal muscular atrophy using an oral sedative instead of general anesthesia.

Our complete pediatric anesthesia team is on-site, is experienced in caring for children with neuromuscular disorders, and general anesthesia is available when needed.

Neuromuscular ultrasound and electrodiagnostic testing

Dr. Zaidman is an expert in neuromuscular ultrasound. He lectures globally about this pain-free technique for investigating nerves and muscles. In addition to caring for children in our combined clinic, Dr. Zaidman performs electrodiagnostic testing himself using a child-friendly approach. He is often able to perform this diagnostic test without sedation, or with light sedation, rather than general anesthesia. 

Diagnostic testing

The following tests are available, if indicated, for your child’s condition:

  • Genetic testing
  • Muscle MRI
  • Muscle and nerve ultrasound
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction studies
  • Muscle and nerve biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)

General health testing

The following tests are available, if needed, for your child:

  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Echocardiogram & EKG
  • Bone Health X-rays and vitamin D testing
  • DEXA scan
  • Endocrine function tests
  • Bone age testing

Therapy services

Physical, occupational and speech therapy services can be important in the management of neuromuscular disorders. The therapy team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is trained in the unique therapy and needs of children with neuromuscular disorders. Our inpatient rehabilitation program includes an innovative program for children with spinal muscular atrophy.

SLCH Therapy Services

Neuromuscular lab

The Neuromuscular division of the Department of Neurology and St. Louis Children’s Hospital offer complete in-house pathology services for muscle and nerve biopsies. Our team can thoroughly evaluate each patient’s condition and determine optimal treatment options.  Our neuromuscular pathology lab is a world leader in nerve and muscle biopsy pathology and antibody testing for neuromuscular disorders.

Neuromuscular Clinical Laboratory

Why were you referred?

Your child may be referred to the Center for Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders for any of the following symptoms or lab testing results:

  • elevated CK and/or aldolase level
  • hypotonia or low muscle tone
  • weakness
  • delayed motor milestones
  • toe walking
  • difficulty walking or bearing weight in the legs
  • joint contractures
  • recurrent rhabdomyolysis
  • poor exercise endurance
  • newborn screening results positive for spinal muscular atrophy or Pompe disease
  • positive genetic testing already completed showing a neuromuscular disorder