Carpal tunnel syndrome and its relation to occupation: a systematic literature review


Palmer, Keith T., Harris, E. Clare and Coggon, David (2007) Carpal tunnel syndrome and its relation to occupation: a systematic literature review. Occupational Medicine, 57, (1), 57-66. (doi:10.1093/occmed/kql125).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kql125

Description/Abstract

Objectives To assess occupational risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), we conducted a systematic literature review.

Methods We identified relevant primary research from two major reviews in the 1990s and supplemented this material by a systematic search of the MEDLINE and EMBASE biomedical databases from the start of the electronic record to 1 January 2005. Reports were obtained and their bibliographies checked for other relevant publications. From each paper, we abstracted a standardized set of information on study populations, exposure contrasts and estimates of effect.

Results Altogether, we summarized 38 primary reports, with analyses based either on a comparison of job titles (22) or of physical activities in the job (13) or both (3). We found reasonable evidence that regular and prolonged use of hand-held vibratory tools increases the risk of CTS >2-fold and found substantial evidence for similar or even higher risks from prolonged and highly repetitious flexion and extension of the wrist, especially when allied with a forceful grip. The balance of evidence on keyboard and computer work did not indicate an important association with CTS.

Discussion Although the papers that we considered had limitations, a substantial and coherent body of evidence supports preventive policies aimed at avoiding highly repetitive wrist–hand work. There is a case for extending social security compensation for CTS in the United Kingdom to cover work of this kind.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0962-7480 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: carpal tunnel, classification, neuropathy, occupational risk factors
Subjects: R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
R Medicine
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Community Clinical Sciences
University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine
ePrint ID: 62034
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:44
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/62034

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