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J Spinal Cord Med. 2011 Nov;34(6):563-8. doi: 10.1179/2045772311Y.0000000031.

Is carpal tunnel release under-utilized in veterans with spinal cord injury?

Author information

1
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common disorder among individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Although carpal tunnel release is highly effective, the procedure may be under-utilized in this population. This study attempts to identify if CTS is under-treated in Veterans with SCI.

DESIGN:

The Veterans Affairs (VA) National Patient Care Database was used for data compilation within fiscal years 2007 and 2008. Using ICD-9-CM diagnoses codes, individuals with SCIs were identified, including those diagnosed with CTS. Current procedural terminology (CPT) codes further showed those who had undergone surgical intervention including open and endoscopic release of the transverse carpal ligament. The VA SCI cohort was compared to the general VA population with regard to demographics, diagnosis, surgical intervention, and treatment location.

RESULTS:

A total of 19 296 veterans with SCI were identified within the 2-year period. The prevalence of CTS within this cohort was 3.5%, compared to 2.1% in the general VA population. The rate of transverse carpal ligament release was similar between the VA SCI cohort and general population (0.24 and 0.17%, respectively). The majority of surgical treatment (89%) occurred within the VA 'hub-and-spoke' system of SCI care.

CONCLUSION:

CTS appears to be under-diagnosed and under-treated in veterans with SCI.

PMID:
22330111
PMCID:
PMC3237282
DOI:
10.1179/2045772311Y.0000000031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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