Quantitative muscle ultrasound in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: a comparison of techniques

Muscle Nerve. 2015 Feb;51(2):207-13. doi: 10.1002/mus.24296. Epub 2014 Dec 23.


Introduction: Muscle pathology in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) can be quantified using ultrasound by measuring either the amplitudes of sound-waves scattered back from the tissue [quantitative backscatter analysis (QBA)] or by measuring these backscattered amplitudes after compression into grayscale levels (GSL) obtained from the images.

Methods: We measured and compared QBA and GSL from 6 muscles of 25 boys with DMD and 25 healthy subjects, aged 2-14 years, with age and, in DMD, with function (North Star Ambulatory Assessment).

Results: Both QBA and GSL were measured reliably (intraclass correlation ≥ 0.87) and were higher in DMD than controls (P < 0.0001). In DMD, average QBA and GSL measured from superficial regions of muscle increased (rho ≥ 0.47, P < 0.05) with both higher age and worse function; in contrast, GSL measured from whole regions of muscle did not.

Conclusions: QBA and GSL measured from superficial regions of muscle can similarly quantify muscle pathology in DMD.

Keywords: Duchenne muscular dystrophy; biomarker; muscle; myopathy; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Ultrasonography*