Description, reliability and validity of a novel method to measure carpal tunnel pressure in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Coppieters MW., Schmid AB., Kubler PA., Hodges PW.
Elevated carpal tunnel pressure is an important pathomechanism in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Several invasive methods have been described for direct measurement of carpal tunnel pressure, but all have two important limitations. The pressure gauge requires sterilisation between uses, which makes time-efficient data collection logistically cumbersome, and more importantly, the reliability of carpal tunnel pressure measurements has not been evaluated for any of the methods in use. This technical note describes a new method to measure carpal tunnel pressure using inexpensive, disposable pressure sensors and reports the within and between session reliability of the pressure recordings in five different wrist positions and during typing and computer mouse operation. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC[3,1]) were calculated for recordings within one session for healthy participants (n = 7) and patients with CTS (n = 5), and for recordings between two sessions for patients with CTS (n = 5). Overall, the reliability was high. With the exception of two coefficients, the reliability of the recordings at different wrist angles varied from 0.63 to 0.99. Reliability for typing and mouse operation ranged from 0.86 to 0.99. The new method described in this report is inexpensive and reliable, and data collection can be applied more efficiently as off-site sterilisation of equipment is not required. These advances are likely to promote future research into carpal tunnel pressure, such as investigation of the therapeutic mechanisms of various conservative treatment modalities that are believed to reduce elevated carpal tunnel pressure.