Ultrasonographic reference values for peripheral nerves and nerve roots in the normal population of children and adolescents: study protocol for an observational-prospective trial

BMJ Open. 2016 Dec 9;6(12):e014662. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014662.


Background: High-resolution ultrasonography is a new and promising technique to evaluate peripheral and spinal nerves. Its validity as a diagnostic tool in neurological diseases has been demonstrated in adults. Up to now no reference values have been published in children and adolescents although this technique would be ideal in this population as it is fast and non-invasive.

Methods/design: Our aim is to generate ultrasonographic reference values for several peripheral nerves (median, ulnar, radial, tibial, sural, peroneal and tibial nerve) as well as for the spinal nerves C5 and C6 and the vagus nerve in children and adolescents. In an observational prospective study, we will recruit 205 children and adolescents aged between ≥2 and ≤18 years without neuromuscular symptoms/signs and without a history of neuromuscular disease. After the collection of demographic and anthropometric data (height, weight, body mass index, age, gender and handedness) and a neurologic examination, a high-resolution ultrasonography of peripheral and spinal nerves at several anatomic landmarks will be performed. These data will be used to estimate age-dependent percentile curves and to evaluate inter-rater, intrarater and interequipment reliability of the measurements.

Ethics and dissemination: This study was approved by the local ethics committee (EKNZ 2015-210). The findings from this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Trial registration number: NCT02570802, pre-results publication.

Keywords: High resolution nerve ultrasound; normal values; peripheral nerve system.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Peripheral Nerves / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography / methods*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02570802