Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Abstract

This clinical practice guideline was created to improve patient care by outlining the appropriate information-gathering and decisionmaking processes involved in managing the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. The methods used to develop this clinical practice guideline were designed to combat bias, enhance transparency, and promote reproducibility. The guideline's recommendations are as follows: The physician should obtain an accurate patient history. The physician should perform a physical examination of the patient that may include personal characteristics as well as performing a sensory examination, manual muscle testing of the upper extremity, and provocative and/or discriminatory tests for alternative diagnoses. The physician may obtain electrodiagnostic tests to differentiate among diagnoses. This may be done in the presence of thenar atrophy and/or persistent numbness. The physician should obtain electrodiagnostic tests when clinical and/or provocative tests are positive and surgical management is being considered. If the physician orders electrodiagnostic tests, the testing protocol should follow the American Academy of Neurology/American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine/American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation guidelines for diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. In addition, the physician should not routinely evaluate patients suspected of having carpal tunnel syndrome with new technology, such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and pressure-specified sensorimotor devices in the wrist and hand. This decision was based on an additional nonsystematic literature review following the face-to-face meeting of the work group.

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