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Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Related to Computer Exposure at Work? A Review and Meta-Analysis

Mediouni, Zakia MD; de Roquemaurel, Alexis MD; Dumontier, Christian MD; Becour, Bertrand MD; Garrabe, Hélène; Roquelaure, Yves MD, PhD; Descatha, Alexis MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 2 - p 204–208
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000080
Original Articles

Objective: A meta-analysis on epidemiological studies was undertaken to assess association between carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and computer work.

Methods: Four databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Base de Donnees de Sante Publique) were searched with cross-references from published reviews. We included recent studies, original epidemiological studies for which the association was assessed with blind reviewing with control group. Relevant associations were extracted, and a metarisk was calculated using the generic variance approach (meta–odds ratio [meta-OR]).

Results: Six studies met the criteria for inclusion. Results are contradictory because of heterogeneous work exposure. The meta-OR for computer use was 1.67 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 3.55). The meta-OR for keyboarding was 1.11 (95% CI, 0.62 to 1.98) and for mouse 1.94 (95% CI, 0.90 to 4.21).

Conclusion: It was not possible to show an association between computer use and CTS, although some particular work circumstances may be associated with CTS.

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From the Inserm (Ms Mediouni and Dr Descatha), Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, “Population-Based Epidemiological Cohorts” Research Platform, Villejuif, France; Université Versailles St-Quentin (Ms Mediouni and Dr Descatha), Versailles, France; AP-HP (Ms Mediouni, Ms de Roquemaurel, Ms Garrabe, and Dr Descatha), Occupational Health Unit/EMS (Samu92), University Hospital of West Suburb of Paris, Garches, France; Plastic and Hand Department (Ms Dumontier), Nice University, Hôpital St Roch, Nice, France; Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris (Mr Becour), Hôtel-Dieu University Hospital, Forensic Unit, Paris, France; and LUNAM Université (Mr Roquelaure), Université d'Angers, Laboratoire d'ergonomie et d'épidémiologie en santé au travail, Angers, France.

Address correspondence to: Alexis Descatha, Inserm U1018, UVSQ, Unité de pathologie professionnelle, CHU Poincaré, 104 bd Poincaré, 92380 Garches, France (

All authors hereby declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine