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Diagnostic accuracy of the upper limb neurodynamic test 1 using neurodynamic sequencing in diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome

Bueno-Gracia E, Fanlo-Mazas P, Malo-Urries M, Rodriguez-Mena D, Montaner-Cuello A, Ciuffreda G, Shacklock M, Estebanez-de-Miguel E

Musculoskeletal Science & Practice 2023 Dec;69:102897

primary study

BACKGROUND: The upper limb neurodynamic test 1 is used in the diagnosis of median nerve neuropathies such as carpal tunnel syndrome but its diagnostic validity remains limited. Neurodynamic sequencing has been suggested to increase the specificity of the neurodynamic tests, however, to date, information on the diagnostic accuracy of this variation in neurodynamic testing is required. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to analyze the diagnostic validity of the local sequence of ULNT1 (LS-ULNT1) (i.e., a sequence that begins at the joint where the problem is (wrist) and progressively moves joints further away from it), in the diagnosis of CTS. A secondary aim was to describe the location of sensory responses to this modified neurodynamic test sequence. DESIGN: A prospective diagnostic accuracy study was designed. METHOD: Nerve conduction studies were used as the gold standard. The LS-ULNT1 was performed in 58 consecutive patients (17 men, 44 women) with suspected CTS. RESULTS: Sensitivity of the LS-ULNT1 was 65.7% (CI 48.0 to 80.9%) and the specificity was 95.7% (CI 78.1 to 99.9%). The positive and negative likelihood ratios were > 5 and < 0.5, respectively, indicating the ability of the test to generate small but sometimes important changes in post-test probability. CONCLUSIONS: The overall results of this study showed that the LS-ULNT1 could be useful in confirming the diagnosis of CTS. The test demonstrated high specificity and the +LR indicated the ability of the test to generate changes in posttest probability, especially with a positive LS-ULNT1 result.

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