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Keywords:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • case–control study;
  • comorbidities;
  • statistical association

Background:  Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), with unclear etiology, is the most common entrapment neuropathy. Its occurrence is related to lots of medical and non-medical conditions with uncertain causality. With a large population, we characterized selected demographical and clinical factors to add more information on CTS-correlated factors and new insight into future CTS prevention.

Methods:  A national insurance claim dataset of one million enrollees in Taiwan was used to identify 15 802 patients with CTS and 31 604 randomly selected controls, during a period of 7 years starting 1 January 2000. Statistical association with CTS was determined for five sociodemographic and nine medical factors.

Results:  Patients were predominantly women (65.6% vs. 47.7% in the control group) and older (40 and above, 62.6% vs. 36.2%). Rheumatoid arthritis was found to be the most significant comorbidity associated with CTS, followed by gout, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, uremia, and acromegaly. For younger group age ≤39, the association of these comorbidities was stronger, and hypothyroidism and vitamin B6 deficiency were additional comorbidities. Aging appears to reduce the relative impact of the diseases commonly associated with CTS as the possible risk factors.

Conclusions:  Identification of the CTS correlates in younger group would be of greater value in timely detection and treatment for these diseases. Correcting these disorders may aid in removing possible causes of CTS. This is the first report on the effect of aging on probable CTS risk factors. How factors associated with aging contribute to the development of CTS remains to be determined.