Nerve Conduction Differences in a Large Clinical Population: The Role of Age and Sex

Shahar Shelly*, Roni Ramon-Gonen, Pritikanta Paul, Christopher J. Klein, Eyal Klang, Nisim Rahman, Vera Nikitin, Merav Ben David, Amir Dori

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The normal limits of nerve conduction studies are commonly determined by testing healthy subjects. However, in comprehensive real-life nerve conduction electrodiagnostic (EDX) evaluations, multiple nerves are tested, including normal nerves, for purposes of comparison with abnormal ones. Objective: This study aims to evaluate the average values of normal nerve conduction studies in a large population and examined the influence of age and sex. Methods: EDX parameters were extracted from an electronic database of studies performed from May 2016 to February 2022. Established normal values were used to determine the classification of a nerve study as normal. Results: We identified 10,648 EDX reports with 5077 normally interpreted nerve conduction studies (47.6%) of which 57% (n=2890) were for females. The median age of studies with no abnormalities was 45.1 years (range<1 to 92) overall and 42.5 years (range: 0.16-89.5 years) for males and 47.5 years (range:<1-91.7) for females. Correlations between age and amplitude, latency, and velocity (p<0.001) were observed in most nerves. Amplitude correlated negatively with age in adults in all nerves with a mean of-0.44 (range:-0.24 to-0.62). However, in the pediatric population (age<18 years), amplitude as well as velocity increased significantly with age. In the adult cohort, sex differences were noted, where females had higher mean sensory nerve action potentials in ulnar, median, and radial evaluations (p<0.001). In older patients (aged>70 years) with normally interpreted EDX studies (845 records of 528 patients), sural responses were present in 97%. Conclusions: This real-life study confirms that advanced aging is associated with decreased nerve conduction amplitudes, increased latency, and the slowing of conduction velocity. The findings also indicate higher sensory amplitudes and conduction velocities in females. Sural nerve responses were identified in most adults over age 70.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-935
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuromuscular Diseases
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2023

Keywords

  • Sex differences
  • nerve conduction tests
  • personalized medicine
  • reference ranges
  • standards

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