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January 12, 1990

Work-Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Portland (Ore) Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation Center

Portland (Ore) Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation Center

JAMA. 1990;263(2):236. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440020070028

To the Editor.—  The article entitled "Occupational Disease Surveillance: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome"1 presents a three-part surveillance case definition for work-related carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The article suggests that occupational hand activities are a significant risk factor for CTS.According to the article, 47% of CTS cases reported in Santa Clara County, California, in 1987 were believed, by the responding providers, to be work related. This means that the majority, or 53%, were not believed to be work related. No surveillance case definition was presented to help the reader understand why the latter cases fell outside the work-related CTS category. In the absence of this information, the reader might assume that the mere performance of certain types of occupational hand activities equates with work-related CTS.Carpal tunnel syndrome is a widely prevalent condition, and a surveillance study of any segment of the adult population will likely yield the finding of