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BMJ. 2007 May 5; 334(7600): 928.
PMCID: PMC1865428
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Carpal tunnel syndrome rarely predicts underlying disease

When researchers screened for raised blood glucose, thyroid stimulating hormone, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate in 386 of 516 consecutive patients retrospectively identified to have carpal tunnel syndrome, they found that only four patients had positive results; 130 patients had been excluded from the screening because of a previous diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, or connective tissue disorder.

Two patients were found to have diabetes mellitus (a positive predictive value for screening of 0.5%; 95% confidence interval 0.1% to 1.7%); two were hypothyroid (0.4%; 0.1% to 1.5%), and none had connective tissue disorder. Despite these largely negative findings, the authors say that some might consider that the €1468 (£1000; $2000) cost per diagnosis of hypothyroidism (and fourfold lower cost for diabetes mellitus) a worthwhile expenditure.


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