Abstract Objective To investigate whether ultrasonographic measurement of the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the intrinsic hand muscles can be used to predict muscle strength in a valid and reliable manner, and to determine if this method can be used for follow-up of patients with peripheral nerve injury between the wrist and elbow. Design Repeated-measures cross-sectional study. Setting Clinical and academic hospital. Participants Healthy adults (n=31) and patients with ulnar and median nerve injuries (n=16) between the wrist and elbow who were visiting the Erasmus Medical Center or Maasstad Hospital were included in the study (N=47). Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Correlation between measured muscle CSA and strength and assessment of inter- and intrarater reliability. Ultrasound and strength measurements of the intrinsic hand muscles were conducted bilaterally. To establish validity, the CSA of 4 muscles (abductor digiti minimi, first dorsal interosseus, abductor pollicis brevis, opponens pollicis) was compared with strength measurements of the same muscles conducted with the Rotterdam Intrinsic Hand Myometer. Repeated measures were conducted to assess inter- and intrarater reliability. Results The assessed CSA strongly correlated with strength measurements, with correlations ranging from 0.82 to 0.93 in healthy volunteers and from 0.63 to 0.94 in patients. Test-retest reliability showed excellent intrarater reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient range, 0.99-1.00) in patients and volunteers and good interrater reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient range, 0.88-0.95) in healthy volunteers. Conclusions We found that ultrasound is a valid and reliable method to assess the CSA of specific muscles in the hand. Therefore, this technique could be useful to monitor muscle reinnervation in patients suffering from peripheral nerve injury as a valuable addition to strength dynamometers.

Muscle strength dynamometer, Muscular atrophy, Peripheral nerve injuries, Rehabilitation, Ultrasonography
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.11.014, hdl.handle.net/1765/90855
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Mohseny, B, Nijhuis, T.H.J, Hundepool, C.A, Janssen, W.G.M, Selles, R.W, & Coert, J.H. (2015). Ultrasonographic quantification of intrinsic hand muscle cross-sectional area; Reliability and validity for predicting muscle strength. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Vol. 96, pp. 845–853). doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2014.11.014