Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Does a carpal tunnel syndrome predict an underlying disease?
  1. Maarten C de Rijk1,
  2. Frederique H Vermeij2,
  3. Maartje Suntjens1,
  4. Pieter A van Doorn1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Neurology, St Franciscus Gasthuis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M C de Rijk
 Department of Neurology, Catharina-ziekenhuis, PO Box 1350, 5602 ZA Eindhoven, The Netherlands;m.derijk{at}


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may be the presenting symptom of an underlying disease such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism or connective tissue disease (CTD). It was investigated whether additional blood tests (glucose level, thyroid-stimulating hormone level and erythrocyte sedimentation rate) are useful to detect diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism or CTD in patients with CTS who have not been diagnosed with these diseases before. A group of 516 consecutive patients electromyographically diagnosed with CTS without known diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism or CTD underwent blood tests and were followed up for incident diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism or CTD to investigate whether these additional blood tests are useful to detect these diseases in patients with CTS. In our CTS population, only two patients were newly diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, two with hypothyroidism and none with CTD. In general, systematic screening for incident diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and CTD through additional blood tests seems to be of little additional value in otherwise typical cases of CTS.

  • CTD, connective tissue disease
  • CTS, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • ESR, erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • PPV, positive predictive value
  • SFG, Sint Franciscus Gasthuis
  • TSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Published Online First 20 October 2006

Linked Articles