Muscle ultrasound elastography and MRI in preschool children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Anna Pichiecchio, Francesco Alessandrino, Chandra Bortolotto, Alessandra Cerica, Cristina Rosti, Maria Vittoria Raciti, Marta Rossi, Angela Berardinelli, Giovanni Baranello, Stefano Bastianello, Fabrizio Calliada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to determine muscle tissue elasticity, measured with shear-wave elastography, in selected lower limb muscles of patients affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and to correlate the values obtained with those recorded in healthy children and with muscle magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from the same DMD children, specifically the pattern on T1-weighted (w) and short-tau inversion recovery (STIR) sequences. Five preschool DMD children and five age-matched healthy children were studied with shear-wave elastography. In the DMD children, muscle stiffness was moderately higher compared with the muscle stiffness in HC, in the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, adductor magnus and gluteus maximus muscles. On muscle MRI T1-w images showed fatty replacement in 3/5 patients at the level of the GM, while thigh and leg muscles were affected in 2/5; hyperintensity on STIR images was identified in 4/5 patients. No significant correlation was observed between stiffness values and MRI scoring. Our study demonstrated that lower limb muscles of preschool DMD patients show fatty replacement and patchy edema on muscle MRI and increased stiffness on shear-wave elastography. In conclusion, although further studies in larger cohorts are needed, shear-wave elastography could be considered a useful non-invasive tool to easily monitor muscle changes in early stages of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-483
Number of pages8
JournalNeuromuscular Disorders
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Elastosonography
  • Muscle edema
  • Muscle MRI
  • Ultrasound elastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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