Examination of Deep Tendon Reflexes

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Case description

Primary deep tendon reflexes: bicep, triceps, patellar, and ankle. Each reflex corresponds to a particular root and muscle and will evaluate the integrity of the root and associated nerve.

Biceps: root C5-C6, biceps muscle
Tricep: roots C7, C8, triceps muscle
Patellar: roots L2-L4, the quadriceps muscle
Ankle(Achilles): S1-S2, gastrocnemius muscle

The deep tendon reflex (DTR) examination is part of the neurologic exam. The presence of hyporeflexia or hyperreflexia may indicate an underlying disease. Proper technique and interpretation of results are crucial to help in the diagnosis of many upper and lower motor neuron pathologic processes such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, spinal muscular atrophies, among others. They are sometimes referred to as muscle stretch reflexes.

Video by Internal Medicine Made Easy

tags: physical examination deep tendon reflexes neurologic exam


Joanna Stachera
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Joanna Stachera

MD

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