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Muscle Nerve. 1992 Nov;15(11):1253-7.

Lumbrical and interossei recording in carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Department of Neurology, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA.


Median motor studies are commonly "normal" in mild carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This reflects either the sparing of motor compared to sensory fibers, or the inability of conventional studies to detect an abnormality. A novel approach to demonstrate early motor fiber involvement in CTS is the placement of the same active electrode lateral to the third metacarpal, allowing recording from the second lumbrical or the deeper interossei, when stimulating the median or ulnar nerves at the wrist, respectively. We compared the difference between these latencies in 51 normal control hands to 107 consecutive patient hands referred with symptoms and signs suggestive of CTS, who were subsequently proven to have electrophysiologic CTS by standard nerve conduction criteria. A prolonged lumbrical-interossei latency difference (> 0.4 ms) was found to be a sensitive indicator of CTS in all patient groups. It was also helpful in patients with coexistent polyneuropathy, where localization at the wrist was otherwise difficult.

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