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BMC endocrine disorders


BACKGROUND: In our previous published study, we demonstrated that a qualitatively assessed elevation in deltoid muscle echogenicity on ultrasound was both sensitive for and a strong predictor of a type 2 diabetes (T2DM) diagnosis. This study aims to evaluate if a sonographic quantitative assessment of the deltoid muscle can be used to detect T2DM.

METHODS: Deltoid muscle ultrasound images from 124 patients were stored: 31 obese T2DM, 31 non-obese T2DM, 31 obese non-T2DM and 31 non-obese non-T2DM. Images were independently reviewed by 3 musculoskeletal radiologists, blinded to the patient's category. Each measured the grayscale pixel intensity of the deltoid muscle and humeral cortex to calculate a muscle/bone ratio for each patient. Following a 3-week delay, the 3 radiologists independently repeated measurements on a randomly selected 40 subjects. Ratios, age, gender, race, body mass index, insulin usage and hemoglobin A(1c) were analyzed. The difference among the 4 groups was compared using analysis of variance or chi-square tests. Both univariate and multivariate linear mixed models were performed. Multivariate mixed-effects regression models were used, adjusting for demographic and clinical variables. Post hoc comparisons were done with Bonferroni adjustments to identify any differences between groups. The sample size achieved 90% power. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated based on set threshold ratios. Both intra- and inter-radiologist variability or agreement were assessed.

RESULTS: A statistically significant difference in muscle/bone ratios between the groups was identified with the average ratios as follows: obese T2DM, 0.54 (P < 0.001); non-obese T2DM, 0.48 (P < 0.001); obese non-T2DM, 0.42 (P = 0.03); and non-obese non-T2DM, 0.35. There was excellent inter-observer agreement (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.87) and excellent intra-observer agreements (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.92, 0.95 and 0.94). Using threshold ratios, the sensitivity for detecting T2DM was 80% (95% CI 67% to 88%) with a specificity of 63% (95% CI 50% to 75%).

CONCLUSIONS: The sonographic quantitative assessment of the deltoid muscle by ultrasound is sensitive and accurate for the detection of T2DM. Following further studies, this process could translate into a dedicated, simple and noninvasive screening method to detect T2DM with the prospects of identifying even a fraction of the undiagnosed persons worldwide. This could prove especially beneficial in screening of underserved and underrepresented communities.

Medical Subject Headings

Deltoid Muscle; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Glycated Hemoglobin A; Humans; Obesity; Ultrasonography

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