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Keywords:

  • accuracy;
  • carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • clinical neurophysiology;
  • screening test;
  • ultrasound

ABSTRACT

Introduction

Manual laborers are at increased risk for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and a combination of history, physical examination, and nerve conduction studies is often used to screen for CTS in this population. Neuromuscular ultrasound may be a better screening tool, because it is painless. In this study we compare the accuracy of nerve conduction studies and ultrasound for CTS screening.

Methods

Five hundred thirteen manual laborers were screened prospectively for CTS using nerve conduction studies and neuromuscular ultrasound, and the accuracy of the 2 techniques was compared using the Katz hand diagram as the diagnostic standard.

Results

The ROC curves for the 2 techniques were not significantly different (P = 0.542), indicating that the approaches had similar diagnostic accuracy.

Conclusions

Neuromuscular ultrasound is a painless technique that has diagnostic accuracy similar to nerve conduction studies and can be used to screen large populations at risk for CTS. Muscle Nerve, 2013