Outcome assessment of carpal tunnel release has relied upon objective measurements including grip strength and sensory testing as well as subjective parameters such as relief from pain and improvement of hand function. The latter can be obtained by the use of standardized questionnaires.
<bold>The aim of the study</bold> was to assess the usefulness of Patient Evaluation Measure (PEM) questionnaire as an outcome measure after carpal tunnel surgery.
<bold>Material and methods.</bold> Fifty patients, 43 women and 7 men with an average age of 55 years with carpal tunnel syndrome received mini-invasive carpal tunnel release. Patients were examined before the operation, and at 1 and 6 months after, according the same protocol. They had measured a total grip and key-pinch strengths and sensation by the filament test. They completed also the PEM questionnaire. The following parameters of the questionnaire were determined: responsiveness, concurrent validity and internal consistency.
<bold>Results.</bold> Over a half-year follow-up, the sensation improved statistically significantly during the first month after operation. Power of the hand decreased initially comparing to baseline values, following by further gradual increasing throughout the follow-up. PEM scores showed continuous improvement of the hand status at each assessment. The PEM questionnaire showed excellent responsiveness to change of considered parameters, comparing to baseline values. The PEM showed also high concurrent validity with total grip and pinch strengths, as well as with Sensory Index, but only at 6 months assessment. However, the PEM showed a discordance with total grip and key-pinch strength at 1 month assessment. The instrument showed excellent internal consistency.
<bold>Conclusion.</bold> The PEM questionnaire is, with some exceptions, a good and useful instrument for outcome measurement after carpal tunnel treatment surgery.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.