Ibrahim and Ayşe explored the application of muscle shear-wave elastography (SWE) as an adjunct clinical tool in monitoring pediatric musculoskeletal disorders such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Their study is part of a book published under the working title of Elastography – Applications in Clinical Medicine.

Magnetic resonance imaging elastography and ultrasound elastography are technological tools that allow for a more objective assessment of tissues’ mechanical properties. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive, can be operated without the use of sedation/anesthesia, and provide real-time measurements. 

“SWE shows promise as an adjunct clinical tool for differentiating between a normal and an abnormal muscle, monitoring the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions, altering the therapeutic intervention, or deciding treatment duration,” the authors of the study wrote. “Therefore, SWE, which measures individual muscle stiffness, can provide significant benefits, especially for physiotherapists because many rehabilitation strategies aim to change the muscle structure.”


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Physicians find it challenging to track disease progression in DMD because it is not feasible to obtain muscle biopsies, which are invasive, during each follow-up. Hence, physicians rely heavily on subjective measurements to evaluate muscle strength. In this regard, SWE provides a pathway for physicians to objectively evaluate DMD muscle pathology and disease progression. 

Studies have elucidated the potential of SWE in DMD care. For example, studies indicate that SWE was able to distinguish between normal and dystrophic muscles in pediatric patients with DMD and healthy controls. Another study shows that SWE was able to differentiate characteristic muscle stiffness in patients with DMD, strengthening the proposal for its use in monitoring DMD disease progression. 

On the clinical implication of such technology in DMD care, the study authors concluded, “SWE, which measures individual muscle stiffness, can provide significant benefits, especially for physiotherapists because many rehabilitation strategies aim to change muscle structure.”

Reference

Ibrahim CH, Ayşe KA. Use of shear wave elastography in pediatric musculoskeletal disorders. In: Elastography – Applications in Clinical Medicine [Working Title]. Published online January 16, 2022. doi:10.5772/intechopen.102063