Purpose: This article describes a pilot study that compares the ability of a novice interpreter and an experienced interpreter to interpret ultrasound images of peripheral nerves in the anterior compartment of the forearm. Methods: Twenty subjects between 18 and 50 years of age were included. A student was taken through tutorials in which she was guided through identification of the peripheral nerves of the anterior forearm. After the tutorials, the experienced interpreter traced the subjects' ulnar nerve and artery neurovascular bundle proximally in the anterior compartment of the forearm until just before it separated into the artery and nerve. Here the distance between the median and ulnar nerve was measured by the investigators. The Bland and Altman design and paired t tests were used to compare the agreement between the results of the two investigators. Results: The Bland and Altman analysis reveals that the difference between two sets of measurements (experienced investigator vs. student) is calculated to be 0.08 mm ± 0.22 mm for the left arm and 0.16 mm ± 0.43 mm for the right arm. A paired t test revealed that there is no significant difference in the measurements obtained by the two investigators (left arm: p = .12; right arm: p = .10). These results suggest that the measurements of the two investigators may be interchangeable. Conclusions: This pilot study shows that after tutorials combining dissection and sonographic interpretation, the ability of a novice interpreter to identify ultrasonographic images of peripheral nerves in the anterior compartment of the forearm is comparable to that of an experienced interpreter.
Laurie Y. Hung is in private chiropractic practice in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, and a recent graduate of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.
Octavian C. Lucaciu is an Associate Professor of Anatomy at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.
David M. Soave is a Research Methodologist in the Division of Graduate Education and Research at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.