Objective. To evaluate the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in pregnancy through a validated and multiperspective assessment of CTS and to assess the course of carpal tunnel syndrome after pregnancy.
Methods. During 2000–2001, the Italian CTS study group in 7 Italian centers studied the occurrence of CTS in women during the last period of pregnancy. The group enrolled and followed-up (10–15 months) 63 women during and after pregnancy with multiple measurements of CTS. In addition to the physician-centered and neurophysiologic traditional evaluations, a validated patient-oriented measurement to obtain more comprehensive and consistent data for severity of symptoms and functional impairment was adopted.
Results. CTS was clinically diagnosed in more than half of women (62%). Neurophysiological evaluation provided diagnosis of CTS in around half of women (43% were positive in one hand at least). Comparison of baseline and follow-up data showed a significant spontaneous improvement of patient-oriented and neurophysiologic measurements. Nevertheless, about half of women with CTS during pregnancy still complained of CTS symptoms one year after delivery.
Conclusions. Our observations confirmed the frequent occurrence of CTS in pregnancy. At follow-up we observed that most CTS cases improve spontaneously without treatment but only in half of women CTS symptoms disappeared one year after delivery.