Interexaminer repeatability of antidromic ulnar sensory nerve conduction velocity measurements

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Oct;86(10):2047-50. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.11.019.


Objective: To determine the interexaminer repeatability of the ulnar antidromic sensory nerve conduction velocity (NCV).

Design: Test-retest design. Based on a randomization list of various combinations and sequences from 2 of a total of 3 examiners, the measurement was repeated within half an hour by a second examiner blinded to the results of the first examiner.

Setting: Outpatient department.

Participants: Twenty-four consecutive healthy subjects (mean age, 38 y).

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and the coefficient of repeatability (CR) were determined for the below elbow to wrist (BE-to-W), above elbow to below elbow (AE-to-BE), and axilla to above elbow (AX-to-AE) segments.

Results: The ICC was .42 for the BE-to-W, .15 for the AE-to-BE, and -.05 for the AX-to-AE segment. The CR was 12.2m/s for the BE-to-W, 16.2m/s for the AE-to-BE, and 21.4m/s for the AX-to-AE segment.

Conclusions: During the assessment of the antidromic sensory NCV of the ulnar nerve, a moderate amount of interexaminer variability must be taken into account for the BE-to-W segment. More proximally, an extremely large amount of interexaminer variability must be taken into account. This calls into question the usefulness of the antidromic ulnar sensory NCV for the AX-to-AE and AE-to-BE segments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electrodiagnosis / methods*
  • Electrodiagnosis / standards
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiology*
  • Upper Extremity / innervation*