Screening for carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace: an analysis of portable nerve conduction devices.
Pransky-G; Long-R; Hammer-K; Schulz-LA; Himmelstein-J; Fowke-J
J Occup Environ Med 1997 Aug; 39(8):727-733
Portable nerve conduction testing devices were evaluated for use in surveillance for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in the workplace setting. Nine male and 23 female working subjects were recruited from hospital employees and the local community. Their average age was 38, ranging from 22 to 61. The types of work they performed included clerical, administrative, professional, and technical jobs. Six were not employed. None had jobs that required repetitive tasks for over an hour at a time or repeated forceful or awkward hand movements. None had current signs of CTS, but five had histories of some symptoms which were suggestive of CTS. The devices tested were the Neurosentinel and NervePace electroneurometer; they were compared with electrodiagnostic studies. Subjects were tested twice, 1 week apart. A number of analyses were explored to determine whether different approaches to obtaining a reference standard or adjustment for various factors would explain some of the variation in the validity or reliability analyses. The findings indicated that the screening tests may be useful in cross sectional or longitudinal studies of workers in which mean changes are likely to represent real effects in a workplace where a significant number of individuals are at high risk for developing CTS. However, the two devices may not be useful for identifying individuals with CTS or to detect changes over time. Results may provide objective evidence of a positive biologic response to ergonomic changes. However, this assumes that test conditions are well controlled.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Cumulative-trauma-disorders; Electrophysiological-measurements; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Neurophysiological-effects
University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Health Program, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655-0309
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts