(HealthDay News) — Ultrasound can accurately confirm the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, according to a study published in the September 3 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

John R. Fowler, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues compared the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound and electrodiagnostic testing for diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome in a series of 85 patients. All patients were assessed with the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 6 (CTS-6) clinical diagnostic tool, which was used as the reference standard.

The researchers found that ultrasound had a sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 90%, while electrodiagnostic testing had a sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 80%. The positive predictive values were 94 and 89%, respectively, for ultrasound and electrodiagnostic testing, while the negative predictive values were 82 and 80%, respectively. Ultrasound was accurate in 89% of cases and electrodiagnostic testing was accurate in 86% of cases.

“While ultrasound will not replace electrodiagnostic testing in complicated or unclear cases, in a select group of patients with a positive CTS-6, ultrasound can be used to confirm the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome with better specificity and equal sensitivity as compared with those of electrodiagnostic testing,” the authors write.

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