Electrodiagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) often depends on the demonstration of focal slowing of median sensory fibers across the wrist. We compared the relative sensitivity of the four median innervated digits in demonstrating focal slowing in patients with CTS. Antidromic sensory studies of digits 1, 2, 3, and 4 were performed on 30 control subjects to develop normative data. Fifty‐nine consecutive patients with CTS were then studied to determine the sensitivity of focal slowing of each median innervated digit. In the 26 CTS patients with a normal distal motor latency (DML) to abductor pollicis brevis, digit 1 was abnormal in 81%, digit 2 in 42%, digit 3 in 54%, and digit 4 in 38%. In the 33 CTS patients with a prolonged DML, digit 1 was abnormal in 94%, digit 2 in 88%, digit 3 in 91%, and digit 4 in 88%. We conclude that in milder cases of CTS with a normal DML, digit 1 is the most sensitive in identifying focal slowing of sensory conduction across the wrist. However, in patients with a prolonged DML, the sensitivity of sensory conduction is not significantly different among the four digits. © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Physiology (medical)