A randomized trial of diagnostic ultrasound to improve outcomes in focal neuropathies

Muscle Nerve. 2015 Nov;52(5):746-53. doi: 10.1002/mus.24884. Epub 2015 Sep 10.


Introduction: Neuromuscular ultrasound is valid, reliable, and accurate, but it is not known whether combining it with electrodiagnostic studies leads to better outcomes in individuals with focal neuropathies.

Methods: One hundred twenty individuals with focal neuropathy, based on history, examination, and electrodiagnosis, were enrolled in this study. All patients underwent neuromuscular ultrasound and were randomized to either have their ultrasound results sent to the referring physician or not have them sent. Outcomes were assessed at 6 months by evaluators blinded to group assignment.

Results: The Overall Disability Sum Score and 7 of 8 domains of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) showed more improvement in the "report sent" group, although only the general health perception domain was significant (P = 0.005).

Conclusions: Most 6-month outcomes did not reach statistical significance between the 2 groups. However, the "report sent" group had trends toward better outcomes, with significance being reached in the general health perception domain of the SF-36.

Keywords: carpal tunnel syndrome; nerve; outcomes ultrasound; ulnar neuropathy at the elbow.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / therapy
  • Electrodiagnosis / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuromuscular Junction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ulnar Neuropathies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ulnar Neuropathies / therapy
  • Ultrasonography