Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and BioMed Central.

Open Access Study protocol

Clinical course, costs and predictive factors for response to treatment in carpal tunnel syndrome: the PALMS study protocol

Christina Jerosch-Herold1*, Lee Shepstone12, Edward CF Wilson3, Tony Dyer2 and Julian Blake4

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

2 Norwich Clinical Trials Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

3 Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

4 Department of Neurophysiology, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:35  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-35

Published: 7 February 2014

Abstract

Background

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common neuropathy of the upper limb and a significant contributor to hand functional impairment and disability. Effective treatment options include conservative and surgical interventions, however it is not possible at present to predict the outcome of treatment. The primary aim of this study is to identify which baseline clinical factors predict a good outcome from conservative treatment (by injection) or surgery in patients diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Secondary aims are to describe the clinical course and progression of CTS, and to describe and predict the UK cost of CTS to the individual, National Health Service (NHS) and society over a two year period.

Methods/Design

In this prospective observational cohort study patients presenting with clinical signs and symptoms typical of CTS and in whom the diagnosis is confirmed by nerve conduction studies are invited to participate. Data on putative predictive factors are collected at baseline and follow-up through patient questionnaires and include standardised measures of symptom severity, hand function, psychological and physical health, comorbidity and quality of life. Resource use and cost over the 2 year period such as prescribed medications, NHS and private healthcare contacts are also collected through patient self-report at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. The primary outcome used to classify treatment success or failures will be a 5-point global assessment of change. Secondary outcomes include changes in clinical symptoms, functioning, psychological health, quality of life and resource use. A multivariable model of factors which predict outcome and cost will be developed.

Discussion

This prospective cohort study will provide important data on the clinical course and UK costs of CTS over a two-year period and begin to identify predictive factors for treatment success from conservative and surgical interventions.