Reliability of Ultrasound Shear Wave Elastography for Evaluating Psoas Major and Quadratus Lumborum Stiffness: Gender and Physical Activity Effects

Emma Feng Ming Zhou, Arnold Yu Lok Wong, Yong Ping Zheng, King Hei Stanley Lam, Siu Ngor Fu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: We aimed to assess the reliability of quantifying psoas major (PM) and quadratus lumborum (QL) stiffness with ultrasound shear wave elastography (SWE), and to explore the effects of gender and physical activity on muscle stiffness. Methods: Fifty-two healthy participants (18–32 y) were recruited. To determine reliability, 29 of them underwent repeated SWE measurements of PM and QL stiffness by an operator on the same day. The intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC3,1), standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimal detectable change with 95% confidence interval (MDC95) were calculated. The rest participants underwent a single measurement. Two-way MANCOVA was conducted for the effects of gender and physical activity on muscle stiffness. Results: The observed reliability for PM (ICC3,1 = 0.89–0.92) and QL (ICC3,1 = 0.79–0.82) were good-to-excellent and good, respectively. The SEM (kPa) was 0.79–1.03 and 1.23–1.28, and the MDC95 (kPa) was 2.20–2.85 and 3.41–3.56 for PM and QL, respectively. After BMI adjustment, both gender (PM: F = 10.15, p = 0.003; QL: F = 18.07, p < 0.001) and activity level (PM: F = 5.90, p = 0.005; QL: F = 6.33, p = 0.004) influenced muscle stiffness. The female and inactive groups exhibited higher stiffness in both muscles. Conclusion: SWE is reliable for quantifying the stiffness of PM and QL. Female and physical inactivity may elevate PM and QL stiffness, underscoring the importance of accounting for these factors in muscle stiffness investigations. Larger prospective studies are needed to further elucidate their effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-570
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Athletes
  • Inactivity
  • Low back pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Paraspinal muscles
  • Psoas muscles
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Shear wave modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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