Background: The authors systematically reviewed all of the etiopathologic factors discussed in the literature to verify the classification of de Quervain tenosynovitis on the list of occupational diseases.
Methods: The authors searched Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library for articles discussing the cause of de Quervain tenosynovitis. The literature was classified by the level of evidence presented, the etiopathologic hypothesis discussed, the authors' conclusion about the role of the etiopathologic hypothesis, and the first author's professional background. The quality of reporting of the observational studies was evaluated by an extended Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology statement checklist. A meta-analysis of all controlled cohort studies was performed. The Bradford Hill criteria were used to evaluate a causal relationship between de Quervain tenosynovitis and occupational risk factors.
Results: A total of 179 references were found, and 80 articles were included. On average, only 35 percent (median, 35 percent; range, 16 to 60 percent) of all items on the extended Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology checklist were addressed per article. The meta-analysis to evaluate the strength of the association between de Quervain tenosynovitis and (1) repetitive, (2) forceful, or (3) ergonomically stressful manual work suggested an odds ratio of 2.89 (95 percent CI, 1.4 to 5.97; p = 0.004). No evidence was found to support the Bradford Hill criteria for a causal relationship between de Quervain tenosynovitis and occupational risk factors.
Conclusion: No sufficient scientific evidence was provided to confirm a causal relationship between de Quervain tenosynovitis and occupational risk factors.
Clinical question/level of evidence: Risk, III.