Inhibited movement patterns of carpal tunnel structures have been found in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) patients. Motion analysis on ultrasound images allows us to non-invasively study the (relative) movement of carpal tunnel structures and recently a speckle tracking method using singular value decomposition (SVD) has been proposed to optimize this tracking. This study aims to assess the reliability of longitudinal speckle tracking with SVD in both healthy volunteers and patients with CTS.

Images from sixteen healthy volunteers and twenty-two CTS patients were used. Ultrasound clips of the third superficial flexor tendon and surrounding subsynovial connective tissue (SSCT) were acquired during finger flexion-extension. A custom made tracking algorithm was used for the analysis. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated using a single measure, two-way random model with absolute agreement and Bland-Altman plots were added for graphical representation.

ICC values varied between 0.73 and 0.95 in the control group and 0.66–0.98 in the CTS patients, with the majority of the results classified as good to excellent. Tendon tracking showed higher reliability values compared to the SSCT, but values between the control and CTS groups were comparable.

Speckle tracking with SVD can reliably be used to analyze longitudinal movement of anatomical structures with different sizes and compositions within the context of the carpal tunnel in both a healthy as well as a pathological state. Based on these results, this technique also holds relevant potential for areas where ultrasound based dynamic imaging requires quantification of motion.

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Journal Journal of Biomechanics
Schrier, V., Evers, S, Bosch, J.G, Selles, R.W, & Amadio, P.C. (2019). Reliability of ultrasound speckle tracking with singular value decomposition for quantifying displacement in the carpal tunnel. Journal of Biomechanics, 85, 141–147. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.01.022