Influence of age and height on nerve conduction

Muscle Nerve. 2001 Sep;24(9):1134-41. doi: 10.1002/mus.1124.


Previous studies demonstrated age- and height-related slowing of nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and reduction in nerve response amplitude. Unfortunately, many studies examined discontinuous populations, preventing regression analysis. The correlation coefficients of available studies vary widely, preventing clear conclusions. We retrospectively examined 3969 clinically normal subjects ranging in age from 20 to 95 years from a total of 22,420 electrodiagnostic studies done between 1986 and 1998. The correlation of NCV with height was stronger than with age. Regression equations using both factors account for 12--27% of the variance. Responses were seen in the majority of patients aged 70 years and older, but the percentage of normals who had no response increased with advancing age. Age was strongly inversely correlated with the amplitudes of both sensory and motor responses, accounting for 7--16% of the variance. Regression equations using both height and age improved this correlation, accounting for 7--22% of the variance. Therefore, both height and age must be taken into consideration when normal values are developed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Height / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology / standards*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Peroneal Nerve / cytology
  • Peroneal Nerve / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sural Nerve / cytology
  • Sural Nerve / physiology
  • Ulnar Nerve / cytology
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiology