Article Title

Muscle shear wave elastography, conventional B mode and power doppler ultrasonography in healthy adults and patients with autoimmune inflammatory myopathies: A pilot cross-sectional study

Abstract

Background: Before the role of shear wave elastography (SWE) and B mode ultrasound (US) in the diagnosis of different forms of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) can be investigated, normative data is required. This study aimed to describe and then compare normative SWE and B mode ultrasound metrics of muscles in healthy controls and patients with IIM.

Methods: Twenty nine healthy adult controls and 10 IIM patients (5 with inclusion body myositis and 5 with necrotising autoimmune myopathy) underwent a full clinical examination, laboratory investigations, SWE and US measurements of selected proximal and distal limb muscles. Shear wave speed (SWS) and multiple US domains [echogenicity, fascial thickness, muscle bulk and power Doppler (PD)] were measured in both groups.

Results: In healthy controls (n = 29; mean age 46.60 ± 16.10; 44.8 % female), age was inversely correlated with SWS at the deltoid (stretch) (Rs. -0.40, p = 0.030) and PD score at the deltoid (rest) (Rs. -0.40, P = 0.032). Those ≥ 50 years old had a lower SWS at the deltoid (stretch) compared to the < 50 year group (2.92 m/s vs. 2.40 m/s, P = 0.032). Age correlated with increased echogenicity in the flexor digitorum profundus (Rs. 0.38, P = 0.045). Females had a smaller muscle bulk in the deltoid (P = 0.022). Body mass index (BMI) was inversely associated with SWS in the deltoid (stretch) (Rs – 0.45, P = 0.026), and positively correlated with echogenicity in the deltoid (Rs. 0.69, P = 0.026). In patients ≥50 years of age, patients with IIM (mean age 61.00 ± 8.18; females 20.0 %) had a higher proportion of abnormal echogenicity scores at the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) (40.00 % vs. 14.30 %, P = 0.022) and tibialis anterior (TA) (80.00 % vs. 28.60 %, P = 0.004). Fascial thickness was lower in the FDP (0.63mm vs. 0.50mm, p = 0.012) and TA (0.58mm vs. 0.45mm, P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest there is scope for US techniques to be useful for diagnostic screening of affected muscles in patients with IIM, especially in those with suspected inclusion body myositis or necrotising autoimmune myopathy. We provide normative data for future studies into SWE and US techniques in skeletal muscle. The differences between IIM patients and controls warrant further study in a broader IIM patient cohort.

Keywords

Shear wave elastography, ultrasound, idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, myositis, imaging

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

10.1186/s12891-021-04424-0

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