Prevalence of carpal tunnel syndrome in a general population

Author(s): Atroshi I, Gummesson C, Johnsson R, Ornstein E, Ranstam J, et al.


Context Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a cause of pain, numbness, and tingling in the hands and is an important cause of work disability. Although high prevalence rates of CTS in certain occupations have been reported, little is known about its prevalence in the general population.

Objective To estimate the prevalence of CTS in a general population.

Design General health mail survey sent in February 1997, inquiring about symptoms of pain, numbness, and tingling in any part of the body, followed 2 months later by clinical examination and nerve conduction testing of responders reporting symptoms in the median nerve distribution in the hands, as well as of a sample of those not reporting these symptoms (controls).

Setting A region in southern Sweden with a population of 170,000.

Participants A sex- and age-stratified sample of 3000 subjects (age range, 25-74 years) was randomly selected from the general population register and sent the survey, with a response rate of 83% (n=2466; 46% men). Of the symptomatic responders, 81% underwent clinical examination.

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