Quantitative ultrasound of denervated hand muscles

Neil G. Simon*, Jeffrey W. Ralph, Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, Ann N. Poncelet, Steve Vucic, Matthew C. Kiernan, Michel Kliot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Introduction: Presentations to the neuromuscular clinic commonly involve hand muscle denervation, but few studies have evaluated hand muscle ultrasound. Methods: Ultrasound studies of abductor pollicis brevis, first dorsal interosseous, and abductor digit minimi were prospectively performed in a cohort of 34 patients (77 muscles) with electromyography (EMG)-confirmed denervation, compared with 58 healthy control subjects. Results: In control subjects, muscle thickness was highly reproducible [intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC)=0.88-0.98], and echogenicity was moderately reproducible (ICC=0.542-0.686). Age, gender, and body mass index influenced muscle thickness and echogenicity. Ultrasound changes in denervated muscles correlated with the severity of EMG abnormalities. A z-score cutoff of 0 identified denervated muscles with a sensitivity of 100% and 89% for echogenicity and muscle thickness, respectively. Conclusions: Hand muscle ultrasound provides a noninvasive method to quantify muscle denervation and may be useful as a screening tool before EMG studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Denervation
  • Muscle
  • Nerve injury
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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