Superb Microvascular Imaging of the Median Nerve in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: An Electrodiagnostic and Ultrasonographic Study

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate intraneural blood flow of the median nerve using superb microvascular imaging (SMI) and power Doppler ultrasonography (PDUS), and to examine their correlation with electroneuromyography in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was used, and the study was conducted in the research unit of a training and research hospital. Patients diagnosed with CTS according to electroneuromyography studies were included in the study. Ultrasound measurements were taken using an Aplio-500 (Toshiba Medical System Corporation, Tokyo, Japan) device and a linear multifrequency 14-MHz probe. The cross-sectional area of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel level was measured by the direct tracing method using electronic calipers. The power Doppler ultrasonography and superb microvascular imaging scores were recorded by grading the vascularity between 0 and 3.

Results

Evaluation was made of a total of 113 hands of 80 patients (18 men, 62 women) with a mean age of 34.67 ± 12.82 years. The mean duration of symptoms was 12.34 ± 6.66 months. When the patients were grouped as mild, moderate, and severe CTS, there was a statistically significant difference between the SMI and PDUS grades (P < .05). As the severity of CTS increased, an increase in SMI and PDUS scores was observed. There was a strong correlation between SMI scores and motor distal latency (r = .71/P = .026), amplitude of sensory action potential (r = −.77/P = .029), and sensory neurotransmission rate (r = .77/P = .029).

Conclusion

SMI seems to be more sensitive than PDUS for evaluating the vascularity of the median nerve in patients with CTS, and SMI grading is correlated with the ENMG results.

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