The association between different patterns of hand symptoms and objective evidence of median nerve compression: a community-based survey.
Ferry S., Silman AJ., Pritchard T., Keenan J., Croft P.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between different patterns of hand symptoms and the presence of delayed nerve conduction in the general population. METHODS: We performed a 2-stage screening survey involving a questionnaire on current hand symptoms, and nerve conduction testing in samples of subjects with and without symptoms. Of 648 respondents to the symptom questionnaire, 212 reported hand symptoms. In all, 155 were tested for nerve conduction of sensory and motor median nerve latencies, including 40 who had reported no symptoms. Patterns of hand symptoms were compared with nerve conduction results and associations weighted back to the general population. RESULTS: The presence of any hand symptoms had only a 40% sensitivity for delayed nerve conduction on latency testing. The presence of typical symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome had a much lower sensitivity. CONCLUSION: In a community setting, the distribution of hand symptoms does not usefully correlate with the presence of delayed nerve conduction in the median nerve.