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Neuromuscular Disorders Program
The Neuromuscular Disorders Program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care for a variety of neuromuscular disorders. Recognized by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) as an MDA Care Center, we offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary, family-centered care.
What are neuromuscular disorders?
In addition to helping kids run and jump, muscles pump blood throughout the body (the heart), allowing them to speak and breathe and more. Because we rely upon our muscles to do so much of what makes life enjoyable or even possible, it is important that any problems be treated by specialists as soon as they are suspected.
Neuromuscular disorders are a collection of diseases characterized by muscle or nerve dysfunction. These diseases may be related to how the nerves function, communicate with muscles, or a problem with the muscles themselves. Whatever the cause, muscle weakness, numbness, and/or pain may result.
Treating your child’s condition early is the best way to ensure he or she is able to live as active a life as possible.
Neuromuscular disorders we treat
The neurologists in the Neuromuscular Program at Children’s work with a variety of other specialists, including physiatrists (rehab physicians), pulmonologists, physical and occupational therapists, cardiologists, genetics counselors, orthopedic specialists, physician assistants, nurses, social workers and mobility experts, all to give your child the very best care available.
Our specialists treat the full range of neuromuscular disorders, including:
- Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy
- Limb girdle muscular dystrophy
- Congenital muscular dystrophies
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Congenital myopathies
- Myasthenia gravis
- Myotonic dystrophies and other myotonic disorders
- Charcot-Marie tooth disease and other hereditary neuropathies
- Guillain-Barre and other autoimmune neuropathies
- Friedreich’s ataxia
Warning signs of neuromuscular disorders
- Clumsy movement
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Frequently tripping and falling
- Unable to jump or hop normally
- Tip-toe walking
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty sitting or getting up
Diagnosis & treatment
At Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, after evaluating your child’s medical history and examining him or her, we offer a variety of tests and treatments based on your child's individual needs.
- Laboratory testing, including genetic testing
- Electrophysiologic testing (for muscles and nerves)
Video: What it's like to get an NCS and EMG.
Video: What it's like to get an NCS and EMG (Spanish Version).
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Muscle and nerve biopsies
- Neuropsychologic testing
- Cardiac testing
- Lung function testing
We approach our patients' care in a multidisciplinary manner. For diseases that require more than just a neurologist to care for them, we have a multidisciplinary clinic, which can offer patients a single appointment with multiple providers who have a special focus in neuromuscular disease.
We also administer Spinraza (nusinersen), a drug that was recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Exondys 51 (eteplirsen), a drug that was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of some cases of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
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