In recent years, ultrasonographic measurement of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) has been widely used to identify the presence of increased intracranial pressure (ICP). Intracranial hypertension is a life-threatening condition that can be caused by various neurological and non-neurological disorders, and it is associated to poor clinical results. Ultrasonography could be used to qualitatively and efficiently detect ICP increases, but to reach this purpose, clear cut-off values are mandatory. The aim of this review is to provide a wide overview of the most important scientific publications on optic nerve ultrasound normal values assessment published in the last 30 years. A total of 42 articles selected from PubMed medical database was included in this review. Our analysis showed that ocular ultrasonography is considered to be a valuable diagnostic tool, especially when intracranial hypertension is suspected, but unfortunately this research provided conflicting results that could be due to the different ultrasound protocols. This is mainly caused by the use of B scan alone, which presents several limitations. The use of B-scan coupled with the standardized A-scan approach could give more accurate, and reliable ultrasound evaluation, assuring higher data objectivity.
Currently, there is no standardized method to evaluate operator reliability in nerve ultrasound. A short prospective protocol using Bland–Altman analysis was developed to assess the level of agreement between operators with different expertise levels. A control rater without experience in nerve ultrasound, three novices after two months of training, an experienced rater with two years of experience, and a reference rater performed blinded ultrasound examinations of the left median and ulnar nerve in 42 nerve sites in healthy volunteers. The precision of Bland–Altman agreement analysis was tested using the Preiss–Fisher procedure. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), coefficients of variation, and Bland–Altman limits of agreement were calculated. The sample size calculation and Preiss–Fisher procedure showed a sufficient precision of Bland–Altman agreement analysis. Limits of agreement of all trained novices ranged from 2.0 to 2.9 mm2 and were within the test’s maximum tolerated difference. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals of limits of agreement revealed a higher precision in the experienced rater’s measurements. Operator reliability in nerve ultrasound of the median and ulnar nerve arm nerves can be evaluated with a short prospective controlled protocol using Bland–Altman statistics, allowing a clear distinction between an untrained rater, trained novices after two months of training, and an experienced rater.
AbstractHereditary neuropathies are of variable genotype and phenotype. With upcoming therapies, there is urgent need for early disease recognition and outcome measures. High-resolution nerve and muscle ultrasound is a dynamic, non-invasive, well-established tool in the field of inflammatory and traumatic neuropathies. In this study, we defined nerve and muscle ultrasound parameters as recognition and progression markers in 150 patients with genetically confirmed hereditary neuropathies, including Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease (CMT1A, n = 55; other CMT1/4, n = 28; axonal CMT, n = 15; CMTX, n = 15), hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP, n = 16), hereditary transthyretin-amyloidosis (ATTRv, n = 14), and Fabry’s disease (n = 7). The CMT1A, followed by the CMT1/4 group, had the most homogeneous enlargement of the nerve cross-sectional areas (CSA) in the ultrasound pattern sum (UPSS) and homogeneity score. Entrapment scores were highest in HNPP, ATTRv amyloidosis, and Fabry’s disease patients. In demyelinating neuropathies, the CSA correlated inversely with nerve conduction studies. The muscle echo intensity was significantly highest in the clinically most affected muscles, which was independent from the underlying disease cause and correlated with muscle strength and disease duration. Further correlations were seen with combined clinical (CMTES-2) and electrophysiological (CMTNS-2) scores of disease severity. We conclude that nerve ultrasound is a helpful tool to distinguish different types of hereditary neuropathies by pattern recognition, whereas muscle ultrasound is an objective parameter for disease severity. The implementation of neuromuscular ultrasound might enrich diagnostic procedures both in clinical routines and research.
AbstractAxonal polyneuropathy is the main feature of hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTRv). Nerve morphological abnormalities have been reported, but longitudinal changes have never been assessed. We performed a prospective widespread nerve ultrasound evaluation and nerve cross-sectional area (CSA) was compared with baseline data in both ATTRv patients and pre-symptomatic carriers. Thirty-eight subjects were evaluated (mean follow-up 17.1 months), among them 21 had polyneuropathy while 17 were pre-symptomatic carriers. CSA significantly increased at brachial plexus in both groups (p = 0.008 and p = 0.012) pointing to progressive brachial plexus enlargement as a longitudinal biomarker of both disease progression and disease occurrence in pre-symptomatic carriers.
Hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP) is a rare hereditary disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of nerve compression. The first attack usually occurs in the second or third decade of life. In the majority of cases, HNPP is associated with a mutation at chromosome 17 p11.2-12 comprising the gene encoding peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22). Here we present a case report of a 43-year-old male with HNPP confirmed by DNA testing. The patient complained of recurrent episodes of bilateral foot extensor muscles weakness and/or hyperesthesia on the outer surface of the hands and forearms, which started after a prolonged posture maintaining and without evident precipitating factors. We also describe typical clinical, electrophysiological, and nerve ultrasound characteristics of the disease.