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Use of screening nerve conduction studies for predicting future carpal tunnel syndrome.

Werner RA; Franzblau A; Albers JW; Buchele H; Armstrong TJ
Occup Environ Med 1997 Feb; 54(2):96-100
The development of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) among asymptomatic workers with and without a median mononeuropathy was examined. The subjects consisted of manufacturing and clerical workers at five different work sites. There were 77 cases identified with median mononeuropathy determined by a prolongation greater than or equal to 0.5 milliseconds (ms) of the median sensory evoked response. Controls were matched by age and sex. A follow up questionnaire was administered within several years of the initial examinations. The particular jobs studied were identified with a unit of repetition on a scale of 1 to 10, in which an increasing value indicated an increasing degree of repetitive work. Of the 108 respondents, 13 reported numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the hand or fingers. Symptoms developed in 12% of the cases and 10% of the controls. Only 7% of those cases with a prolongation greater than or equal to 0.8ms of the median sensory evoked response developed symptoms during the follow up. The workers with symptoms were investigated for an average of 21.5 months and had an average repetition level of 5.6, whereas the workers without symptoms were investigated for an average of 16.8 months and had an average repetition level of 4.2. Based on backward, stepwise logistic regression analysis, only the months of follow up and the repetition level were significant predictors of symptom development. The relative risk for reporting symptoms for each additional month of follow up was 1.19, while that for reporting symptoms for each increasing unit of repetition was 1.35. The authors conclude that although median mononeuropathy does not predict CTS symptom development among workers, further study is warranted.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Grants-other; Humans; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Office-workers; Hand-injuries; Nerve-function; Neurological-diseases; Electrophysiological-measurements; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Musculoskeletal-system; Repetitive-work; Cumulative-trauma; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Vitamins; Age-factors; Ergonomics
Environmental & Indust Health the University of Michigan 1420 Washington Heights Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
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Occupational and Environmental Medicine
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University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division