Meta-analysis of published studies of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome

Int J Occup Environ Health. 1998 Jul-Sep;4(3):160-7. doi: 10.1179/oeh.1998.4.3.160.


The published information about work-related carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) was surveyed to identify risk estimates and possible biases influencing the risk estimates. Seventeen studies from the English-language literature were identified and study characteristics were coded for univariate and regression analysis. Country of publication, study population, force, and repetitive motion were significant predictors or risk, with R(2) = 0.57, adjusted R(2) = 0.43, Cp = 5.79, and AIC = 19.6 using the best-subset method of variable selection. Using the forward-variable selection method, country, study population, study type, and repetitive motion were significant predictors, with R(2) = 0.57, Cp = 6.24, p = 0.033. Excess risks of work-related CTS were consistent in the studies reviewed. Studies published in the United States reported higher risk estimates than did those published elsewhere. Some industrial populations were found to have higher risk estimates than others. Cross-sectional designs were the most common epidemiologic approach, but are not without methodologic concerns.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bias
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors