Long term follow-up of carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy: A cohort study and review of the literature

Mauro Mondelli, S. Rossi, E. Monti, I. Aprile, P. Caliandro, C. Pazzaglia, C. Romano, L. Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurring during pregnancy is considered to have a short and benign course and very few cases required surgery, however there is no information in literature on long tem follow-up. The aim of this study was a systematic review of the literature and to report 3-year follow-up after delivery in a sample of pregnant women with CTS. Patients and methods: We enrolled 45 consecutive pregnant women with CTS (mean age 32 years). Diagnosis was based on clinical and neurographic findings. Clinical and electrophysiological severity of CTS were scored according to an ordinal scale and the self-administered Boston questionnaires on symptoms (BQ-SYMPT) and functional status (BQ-FUNCT) of the hand during pregnancy and one-year after delivery. Symptoms were evaluated again by BQ over the telephone three years after delivery. Results: At one-year follow-up BQ-SYMPT and BQ-FUNCT scores improved in 40% of women, did not change in 46. 7% and 55. 6% and worsened in 13.3% and 4.4%, respectively. Clinical severity was stage 0 (i. e. without symptoms) in 26.7% of women, improved in 6.7%, unchanged in 60% and worse in 6.7%. Electrophysiological severity was stage 0 (i.e. no delay in median nerve conduction) in 17.8%, improved in 20%, unchanged in 57.8% and worse in 4.4%. Only one woman underwent surgery (5 months after delivery), three were treated with local steroid injection before delivery and 18 used a splint, 8 of whom continued to do so periodically after one year. At 3-year follow-up 51% were symptom-free and 49% had anomalous (> 1) BQ scores, but mean BQ scores improved with respect to those at baseline and one-year follow-up. Conclusion: A Pubmed search identified 20 papers in which therapy and follow-up could be deduced. Almost all reported a short follow-up with disappearance of symptoms. Our study confirms that pregnancy-related CTS has a benign course: improvement of symptoms was evident at one- and 3-year follow-up, but about half the women still complained of symptoms 3 years after delivery. Only one woman underwent surgery and 11% still sometimes wore a splint at night. Despite improvement of symptoms, distal sensory conduction velocity of the median nerve improved but remained delayed in 84% of women one year after delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-271
Number of pages13
JournalElectromyography and Clinical Neurophysiology
Volume47
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

Keywords

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Outcome
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology

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