Expert consensus on the combined investigation of carpal tunnel syndrome with electrodiagnostic tests and neuromuscular ultrasound

Clin Neurophysiol. 2022 Mar:135:107-116. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2021.12.012. Epub 2022 Jan 6.


Expert consensus was sought to guide clinicians on the use of electrodiagnostic tests (EDX) and neuromuscular ultrasound (NMUS) in the investigation of suspected carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Consensus was achieved using the Delphi method via three consecutive anonymised surveys of 15 experts and was defined as rating agreement ≥ 80%. The panel agreed that combining EDX and NMUS is more informative than using each modality alone. NMUS adds value in patients with clinically suspected CTS with non-localizing or normal EDX, atypical EDX, failed CTS surgery, polyneuropathy, and CTS suspected to be secondary to structural pathology. The median nerve cross-sectional area should be measured at the site of maximal nerve enlargement, and the nerve should be scanned from mid-forearm to the palm. The group also identified those situations where the wrist-to-forearm area ratio and longitudinal scans of the median nerve should also be obtained. EDX should always be performed to quantify CTS severity and in individuals over age 70. This document is an initial step to guide clinicians on the combined investigation of CTS using EDX and NMUS, to be updated regularly with the emergence of new research.

Keywords: Carpal tunnel syndrome; Delphi method; Electrodiagnostic testing; Expert consensus; Nerve conduction studies; Neuromuscular ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Consensus
  • Electrodiagnosis / methods*
  • Electrodiagnosis / standards
  • Humans
  • Neuromuscular Junction / diagnostic imaging
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography / standards