, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 2377–2388 | Cite as

Association between ultrasound measurements of muscle thickness, pennation angle, echogenicity and skeletal muscle strength in the elderly

  • Eva Maria StrasserEmail author
  • Thomas Draskovits
  • Markus Praschak
  • Michael Quittan
  • Alexandra Graf


The increase of elderly in our society requires simple tools for quantification of sarcopenia in inpatient and outpatient settings. The aim of this study was to compare parameters determined with musculoskeletal ultrasound (M-US) with muscle strength in young and elderly patients. In this prospective, randomised and observer blind study, 26 young (24.2 ± 3.7 years) and 26 old (age 67.8 ± 4.8 years) patients were included. Muscle thickness, pennation angle and echogenicity of all muscles of musculus quadriceps were measured by M-US and correlated with isometric maximum voluntary contraction force (MVC) of musculus quadriceps. Reproducibility of M-US measurements as well as simple and multiple regression models were calculated. Of all measured M-US variables the highest reproducibility was found for measurements of thickness (intraclass correlation coefficients, 85–97 %). Simple regression analysis showed a highly significant correlation of thickness measurements of all muscles of musculus quadriceps with MVC in the elderly and in the young. Multiple regression analysis revealed that thickness of musculus vastus medialis had the best correlation with MVC in the elderly. This study showed that measurement of muscle thickness, especially of musculus vastus medialis, by M-US is a reliable, bedside method for monitoring the extent of sarcopenia.


Musculoskeletal ultrasound Muscle thickness Pennation angle Echogenicity Skeletal muscle strength Sarcopenia 



Musculoskeletal ultrasound


Maximum isometric voluntary contraction force


Intra-class correlation coefficient


Cross-sectional area


Body mass index


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Maria Strasser
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Thomas Draskovits
    • 1
    • 2
  • Markus Praschak
    • 2
  • Michael Quittan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alexandra Graf
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Social Medical Centre SouthKaiser Franz Joseph HospitalViennaAustria
  2. 2.Karl Landsteiner Institute of Remobilisation and Functional Health, Social Medical Centre SouthKaiser Franz Joseph HospitalViennaAustria
  3. 3.Institute of Medical StatisticsMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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