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Deep tendon reflex testing is performed as an essential component of a comprehensive clinical neurological examination for the following reasons:
  • To establish a more precise differential diagnosis (i.e., if applicable)
  • To more effectively establish a prognosis
  • To develop a plan of care that addresses the impact of identified deficits on an individual’s ability to perform tasks and function in the environment
  • To develop a comprehensive rationale for the plan of care
  • To identify the need for referrals
  • To provide and communicate accurate and reproducible data
  • To provide baseline data to document outcomes of interventions

Conversely, the consequences of failing to identify a more serious underlying neurological condition can lead to:

  • An inaccurate differential diagnosis (i.e., if applicable)
  • Inappropriate and unnecessary interventions
  • Poor utilization of health care resources
  • Unsuccessful outcomes
  • Delayed treatment
  • Increased morbidity and mortality
  • Poor or inaccurate documentation

The health care professional should always remember:
"You only find what you look for, and you only look for what you know"

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Section: Introduction
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