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Ultrasound Spots Carpal Tunnel

It's effective at diagnosing syndrome, evaluating treatments afterwards

SATURDAY, Oct. 25, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Ultrasound may prove an effective alternative for diagnosing and evaluating people who have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

That claim is made in an Egyptian study presented Oct. 24 at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Orlando.

Currently, carpal tunnel syndrome is most often diagnosed using electromyography, which uses electrical stimuli and can be uncomfortable, costly, and painful. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images.

In this study, researchers used ultrasound to examine the wrists of 78 people with carpal tunnel syndrome and 78 others in a control group. Both groups completed self-questionnaires and the study group also had electromyography testing.

All three diagnostic measures yielded similar results in terms of assessing the extent of nerve damage in the wrists of those with carpal tunnel syndrome. But ultrasound was the only method able to determine the exact cause of the symptoms.

Ultrasound was also the most reliable method for assessing response to treatment.

"I believe it is time to say farewell to nerve conduction studies for assessment of patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome," lead investigator Dr. Yasser M. A. El Miedany, an associate professor of rheumatology and rehabilitation at Ain Shams University in Cairo, says in a prepared statement.

"Ultrasound examination should be strongly considered as a new, alternative diagnostic modality. In addition to being noninvasive and quick, it has high diagnostic accuracy and can define the cause of nerve compression."

More information

Here's where you can learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome.

SOURCE: American College of Rheumatology, news release, Oct. 24, 2003
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