The Sensitivity of Quantitative Sonographic Assessment of Muscle Thickness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Diagnosis

Reuven Avidan, Yaara Fainmesser, Vivian E. Drory, Vera Bril, Alon Abraham*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose:In the current proof-of-concept study, we aimed to examine the sensitivities and specificities of previously reported normal values for muscle ultrasound thickness in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Methods:Muscle ultrasound was performed in 65 healthy control subjects and 91 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients using a standardized assessment of eight relaxed muscles and four contracted muscles. Normal values for muscle thickness were determined as values above the 5th percentile stratified by age and gender using the weighted average method. Sensitivity for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis was determined for muscles with and without the addition of muscle contraction.Results:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients showed reduced muscle sum thickness both in relaxed and in contracted states compared with control subjects. Muscle ultrasound of muscles with and without contraction showed excellent diagnostic accuracy for differentiating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients from control subjects (area under curve = 0.96, sensitivity: 93%-95%, specificity: 84-87). Muscle ultrasound sensitivity was lower within 6 months of symptom onset (83%) compared with longer disease duration (>92%).Conclusions:Quantitative sonographic assessment of muscle thickness can be complementary in the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with excellent accuracy for differentiating patients from healthy subjects, and might be useful in other neuromuscular disorders, although additional studies are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-534
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023


FundersFunder number
CSL Behring
Union Chimique Belge


    • ALS
    • Contracted muscle
    • Muscle thickness
    • Muscle ultrasound
    • Neuromuscular ultrasound


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