Age- and muscle-specific reliability of muscle architecture measurements assessed by two-dimensional panoramic ultrasound

Iris Hagoort*, Tibor Hortobágyi, Nicolas Vuillerme, Claudine J C Lamoth, Alessio Murgia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Age-related changes in muscle properties affect daily functioning, therefore a reliable assessment of such properties is required. We examined the effects of age on reliability, muscle quality and interrelation among muscle architecture (MA) parameters of the gastrocnemius medialis (GM), tibialis anterior (TA), and vastus lateralis (VL) muscles.

METHODS: Three raters scored ultrasound (US) scans of 12 healthy younger and older adults, on fascicle length (FL), pennation angle (PA) and muscle thickness (MT). Intra- and inter-rater reliability of MA measures in rest and contraction was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and standard error of measurements (SEM, SEM%). The relationship between MA parameters was examined using Pearson correlation coefficients. Muscle quality (MQ) was examined using mean pixel intensity.

RESULTS: Reliability was moderate to excellent for TA in both groups (ICCs: 0.64-0.99, SEM% = 1.6-14.8%), and for VL in the younger group (ICCs: 0.67-0.98, SEM% = 2.0-18.3%). VL reliability was poor to excellent in older adults (ICCs: 0.22-0.99, SEM% = 2.7-36.0%). For GM, ICCs were good to excellent (ICCs: 0.76-0.99) in both groups, but GM SEM% were higher in older adults (SEM%Younger = 1.5-10.7%, SEM%Older = 1.6-28.1%). Muscle quality was on average 19.0% lower in older vs. younger adults. In both groups, moderate to strong correlations were found for VL FL and MT (r ≥ 0.54), and TA PA and MT (r ≥ 0.72), while TA FL correlated with MT (r ≥ 0.67) in younger adults only.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, age- and muscle-specificities were present in the relationships between MT and PA, and MT and FL at rest. Furthermore, the reliability of MA parameters assessed with 2D panoramic US is acceptable. However, the level of reliability varies with age, muscle and MA measure. In older adults notably, the lowest reliability was observed in the VL muscle. Among the MA parameters, MT appears to be the simplest and most easily reproducible parameter in all muscles and age groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Number of pages19
JournalBiomedical engineering online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022

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