Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurol. 2015;262(4):870-80. doi: 10.1007/s00415-015-7648-0. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Nerve ultrasound for differentiation between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multifocal motor neuropathy.

Author information

Department of Neurology, Neuromuscular Center, Basel University Hospital, University Basel, Petersgraben 4, 4000, Basel, Switzerland,


Ultrasound is useful for non-invasive visualization of focal nerve pathologies probably resulting from demyelination, remyelination, edema or inflammation. In patients with progressive muscle weakness, differentiation between multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is essential regarding therapy and prognosis. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate whether nerve ultrasound can differentiate between ALS and MMN. Systematic ultrasound measurements of peripheral nerves and the 6th cervical nerve root (C6) were performed in 17 patients with ALS, in 8 patients with MMN and in 28 healthy controls. Nerve conduction studies of corresponding nerves were undertaken in MMN and ALS patients. Electromyography was performed in ALS patients according to revised El-Escorial criteria. ANOVA and unpaired t test with Bonferroni correction revealed significant differences in cross-sectional areas (CSA) of different nerves and C6 diameter between the groups. Nerve enlargement was found significantly more frequently in MMN than in other groups (p < 0.001). Receiver operating characteristics analysis revealed detection of enlarged nerves/roots in at least four measurement points to serve as a good marker to differentiate MMN from ALS with a sensitivity of 87.5% and a specificity of 94.1%. Ultrasonic focal nerve enlargement in MMN was often not colocalized with areas of conduction blocks found in nerve conduction studies. Systematic ultrasound measurements in different nerves and nerve roots are valuable for detecting focal nerve enlargement in MMN, generally not found in ALS and thus could serve as a diagnostic marker to differentiate between both entities in addition to electrodiagnostic studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center