Comparative responsiveness of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand, the Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire, and the SF-36 to clinical change after carpal tunnel release

Ralph Gay, Peter C Amadio, Jane C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Scopus citations


Purpose: The objective of this study was to compare the responsiveness (ability to accurately detect change) of 3 self-administered questionnaires to changes produced by carpal tunnel release. Method: The Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH), the Brigham and Women's Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire, and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) were completed by 34 subjects before surgery and at 6 and 12 weeks after carpal tunnel release. Results: The instrument most sensitive to clinical change at 12 weeks as judged by effect size and standardized response means was the Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (effect size/standardized response means, 1.71/1.66) followed by the DASH (1.01/1.13) and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey bodily pain (0.57/0.52) and role physical (0.39/0.39) subscales. There was good correlation between DASH and Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire change scores (Spearman correlation coefficient 0.87). Conclusions: The Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire is the most sensitive to clinical change, but the DASH is sufficiently responsive for use in outcome studies of carpal tunnel syndrome done 12 or more weeks after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-254
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003



  • Carpal tunnel surgery
  • Health status indicators
  • Outcome assessments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery

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