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Eur J Radiol. 2012 Nov;81(11):3378-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2012.01.008. Epub 2012 Jan 31.

Carpal tunnel syndrome assessed with diffusion tensor imaging: comparison with electrophysiological studies of patients and healthy volunteers.

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Department of Radiology, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, 138 Sheng Li Road, Tainan 701, Taiwan.


The main goal of this study was to investigate the applicability of parameters derived from diffusion tension imaging (DTI) in diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Forty subjects were recruited, of which 19 were normal controls and 21 belonged to the CTS group. DTI of median nerves evaluated at 4 levels of the wrist (distal radius, pisiform bone, middle portion of the carpal tunnel, and hamate bone) and conventional MRI of the wrist was performed in normal and CTS subjects in two finger postures (extension and flexion). Fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were derived from DTI, and parameters related to abnormal hyperintensity of the median nerve were derived from conventional MRI. Electrophysiological tests, including nerve conduction velocity and F wave were also performed for comparison. The results of FA and ADC measurements did not depend on the measuring location and finger posture. Mean FA was decreased while mean ADC was increased by CTS. FA and ADC at the middle portion of the carpal tunnel was 0.47±0.05 and 1.37±0.12 (×10(-3) mm2/s) for the control group and 0.42±0.04 and 1.50±0.15 (×10(-3) mm2/s) for the CTS group, respectively. The linear correlations of FA and ADC versus electrophysiological indicators of CTS were significant (R2 ranged from 0.09 to 0.36), indicating FA and ADC from DTI had significant correlation with the existence and severity of CTS.

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