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Ultrasound elastography assessment of the median nerve in leprosy patients

Marcello H Nogueira-Barbosa, Helena B Lugão, Everaldo Gregio-Júnior, Michel D Crema, Mariana T T Kobayashi, Marco A C Frade, Theo Z Pavan, Antonio A O Carneiro
Muscle & Nerve 2017, 56 (3): 393-398

INTRODUCTION: We sought to compare median nerve elasticity between leprosy patients (LPs) and healthy volunteers (HVs) using ultrasound elastography (UE).

METHODS: Two radiologists independently measured the strain ratio of the median nerve/flexor digitorum superficialis muscle (MN/FDSM) of 18 LP and 18 HV using real-time freehand UE. Statistical analysis included intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and Mann-Whitney test.

RESULTS: The MN/FDSM strain ratios of the LP and HV were 2.66 ± 1.30 and 3.52 ± 0.93, respectively (P <  0.05). We observed a significantly lower MN/FDSM strain ratio in LP with reactions (types 1 and 2 cutaneous reactions associated with or without neuritis) (2.30 ± 0.91) compared with LP without reactions (3.60 ± 1.70). We found no significant differences between HV and LP without reactions. The intra- and inter-observer ICCs were 0.50 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.11-0.72) and 0.34 (95% CI, 0.28-0.52), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: MN/FDSM strain ratios were significantly lower in LP with reactions. UE may be useful for nerve elasticity evaluation in leprosy. Muscle Nerve 56: 393-398, 2017.

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