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Sapuan J, Yam KF, Noorman MF, De Cruz PK, Abdul Razab WN, Rozali ZI, Sikkandar MF, Singh R
Correspondence: Clin A/Prof Rajesh Singh, email@example.com
Introduction Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common pregnancy complication. However, it is often overlooked by medical practitioners and patients alike. This study aimed to describe CTS in relation to pregnancy and assess how significant the disease was among pregnant women.
Methods In a prospective cross-sectional study, 333 respondents were randomly selected from among pregnant women attending the primary care maternal health clinic in a university hospital. CTS was diagnosed clinically based on patient history and physical examination. The severity of CTS was assessed using the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire. Symptomatic respondents were asked whether they had mentioned their problems to doctors and received appropriate treatment.
Results 82 (24.6%) pregnant women presented with symptoms of CTS, a majority of whom were ethnic Malays (Malay 87.8%; non-Malay 12.2%). The risk for developing CTS during the third trimester of pregnancy was found to be two-fold among Malay women compared to patients of other ethnicities (odds ratio 2.262; 95% confidence interval 1.10–4.46; p = 0.024). The commonest complaint was daytime numbness (76.8%). The severity of CTS among patients was predominantly mild (80.5%), and the symptoms were severe enough to affect hand function in approximately one-third (34.1%) of the group. However, only 25.6% of symptomatic patients mentioned their problems to their doctors, and of these, 9.5% received treatment.
Conclusion CTS is prevalent in the third trimester of pregnancy, especially among Malay women, in whom the risk of developing the syndrome is two-fold. Yet, this troublesome complication of pregnancy appears to be under-recognised, with most patients not being treated appropriately.
Keywords: Caesarean section, maternal morbidity, perinatal morbidity
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(10): 671–675