Ultrasound examination predicts 6‐month progression in carpal tunnel syndrome patients
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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a peripheral neuropathy resulting from chronic median nerve compression. Chronic compression leads to neurological changes that are quantified through nerve conduction studies (NCS). Although NCS represents the gold standard in CTS assessment, they provide limited prognostic value. Several studies have identified ultrasound as a tool in diagnosing and potentially predicting the progression of CTS in patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the predictive value of ultrasound examination in CTS patients. Twenty patients recruited at their first visit with the neurologist completed two NCS and ultrasound examinations approximately 6 months apart. Ultrasound examination consisted of B-mode, pulse-wave Doppler and colour Doppler ultrasound videos and images to quantify median nerve cross-sectional area, intraneural blood flow velocity in three wrist postures (15° flexion, neutral, and 30° extension), and displacement of the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) tendon and the adjacent subsynovial connective tissue (SSCT) of the middle finger during repetitive finger flexion-extension cycles. A questionnaire was administered to assess the work-relatedness of CTS. Linear regression analyses revealed that intraneural blood flow velocity (R2 = 0.36, p = .03), assessed in wrist flexion, and relative FDS-SSCT displacement (R2 = 0.27, p = .04) and shear strain index (R2 = 0.28, p = .04) were significant predictors of nerve sensory and motor changes at 6 months. Results suggest the possibility of using a battery of ultrasound measures as viable markers to predict median nerve functional changes within 6 months.
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