Personal risk factors for carpal tunnel syndrome in female visual display unit workers
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Provincial Agency for Health Services of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Trento, Italy (Department of Prevention, Occupational Health and Safety Unit)
Parma University Hospital, Parma, Italy (School of Nursing Sciences, Department of Clinical Surgery, General Surgery and Surgical Therapy)
Parma University, Parma, Italy (Department of Biomedical, Biotechnological and Translational Sciences (SBiBiT))
Online publication date: 2016-10-06
Corresponding author
Matteo Riccò   

Provincial Agency for Health Services of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Occupational Health and Safety Unit, Viale Verona SNC, C/O Centro Servizi Sanitari, 38123 Trento, Italy
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2016;29(6):927-36
Objectives: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve entrapment syndrome, which since the beginning of the seventies has been linked to the keyboard and visual display unit (VDU). The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and personal factors associated with CTS in female VDU workers in Italy. Material and Methods: Participants in this study were female adult subjects, working ≥ 20 h/week (N = 631, mean age 38.14±7.81 years, mean working age 12.9±7.24 years). Signs and symptoms were collected during compulsory occupational medical surveillance. The binary logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios for the factors of interest. Results: Diagnosis of CTS was reported in 48 cases (7.6%, 11 of them or 1.7% after a surgical correction) for the incidence of 5.94/1000 person-years. In general, signs and symptoms of CTS were associated with the following demographic factors: previous trauma of upper limb (adjusted odds ratio (ORa) = 8.093, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.347–27.904), history (> 5 years) of oral contraceptives therapy/hormone replacement therapy (ORa = 3.77, 95% CI: 1.701–8.354) and cervical spine signs/symptoms (ORa = 4.565, 95% CI: 2.281–9.136). Conclusions: The prevalence of CTS was similar to the estimates for the general population of Italy. Among personal risk factors, hormone therapy, previous trauma of the upper limb and signs/symptoms of the cervical spine appeared to be associated with a higher risk of CTS syndrome. Eventually, the results reinforce interpretation of CTS in VDU workers as a work-related musculoskeletal disorder rather than a classical occupational disease. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2016;29(6):927–936
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