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Cumulative keyboard strokes: a possible risk factor for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Journal of occupational medicine and toxicology (London, England) | 3 Aug 2012

A Eleftheriou, G Rachiotis, S Varitimidis, C Koutis, KN Malizos and C Hadjichristodoulou
BACKGROUND: Contradictory reports have been published regarding the association of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (C.T.S) and the use of computer keyboard. Previous studies did not take into account the cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes among computer workers. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between cumulative keyboard use (keyboard strokes) and C.T.S. METHODS: Employees (461) of a Governmental data entry & processing unit accepted to participated in a cross-sectional study (response rate: 84.1%). A questionnaire was distributed to the participants with the aim to obtain information on socio-demographics, and risk factors for CTS. The participants were examined for signs and symptoms related to CTS and were asked about previous history or surgery for CTS. The cumulative amount of the keyboard strokes per worker per year was calculated by the use of payroll’s registry. Two case definitions for CTS were used. The first included subjects with positive personal history of CTS/surgery for CTS while the second included subjects that belonged to the first case definition plus cases identified through clinical examination. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis indicated-for both case definitions- that those employees with high cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes were at increased risk of CTS (case definition A: OR=2.23;95% CI=1.09-4.52 and case definition B: OR=2. 41; 95%CI=1.36-4.25). A dose response pattern between cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes and CTS has been revealed (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The present study indicated a possible association between cumulative exposure to keyboard strokes and the development of CTS. Cumulative exposure to key-board strokes would be taken into account as an exposure indicator regarding exposure assessment of computer workers. Further research is needed in order to test the results of the current study and assess causality between cumulative keyboard strokes and development of CTS.
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Keystroke logging, Avicenna, Epidemiology, Median nerve, The Canon of Medicine, Wrist, Carpal tunnel, Carpal tunnel syndrome
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