Shear wave elastography (SWE) is emerging as an innovative tool to evaluate muscle properties and function. It has been shown to correlate with both passive and active muscle forces, and is sensitive to physiological processes and pathological conditions. Similarly, intramuscular pressure (IMP) is an important parameter that changes with passive and active muscle contraction, body position, exercise, blood pressure, and several pathologies. Therefore, the objective of this study was to quantify the dependency of shear modulus within the lower-leg muscles on IMP in healthy individuals. Nineteen healthy individuals (age: Mean age ± SD, 23.84 ± 6.64 years) were recruited. Shear modulus was measured using ultrasound SWE on the tibialis anterior (TA) and peroneus longus (PL) muscles using pressure cuff inflation around the thigh at 40 mmHg, 80 mmHg, and 120 mmHg. Changes in IMP were verified using a catheter connected to a blood pressure monitor. It was found that IMP was correlated to TA and PL shear modulus (spearman's rank correlation = 0.99 and 0.99, respectively). Applying a gradual increase of cuff pressure from 0 to 120 mmHg increased the shear modulus of the TA and PL muscles from 15.83 (2.46) kPa to 21.88 (4.33) kPa and from 9.64 (1.97) kPa to 12.88 (5.99) kPa, respectively. These results demonstrate that changes of muscle mechanical properties are dependent on IMP. This observation is important to improve interpretation of ultrasound elastograms and to potentially use it as a biomarker for more accurate diagnosis of pathologies related to increased IMP.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering