Research Study Abstract

Patient-Generated Actigraphy Data as a Novel Outcomes Instrument in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Published on June, 2020

Background: Currently, we lack objective measures to quantify outcomes in carpal tunnel syndrome. Instead, surgeons rely on patient-reported outcomes measures (PROMs) to assess the effect of carpal tunnel release (CTR). We assessed the validity and reliability of wearable activity monitors to objectively characterize the functional and sleep impact of CTR. We hypothesized that actigraphy could detect changes in sleep and activity and would demonstrate short-term impairment due the operative procedure.

Methods: This pilot, prospective, cohort study compared validated PROMS with actigraphy data obtained via wearable activity monitors (ActiGraph Link; ActiGraph Corp, Pensacola, Fla). Subjects completed baseline questionnaires and wore their device for 1 week preoperatively as a baseline. Subjects then underwent open CTR, wearing actigraphy devices for 4 weeks and completing questionnaires at 2 and 4 weeks postoperatively. Preintervention and postintervention data were compared using paired-sample t test. The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) questionnaire data were analyzed in accordance with published PROMIS scoring manuals and raw scores were converted to standardized T scores.

Results: Twenty subjects (5 males, 15 females) with moderate or severe carpal tunnel syndrome were enrolled. The mean age was 57.7 years. The PROMIS 29 average cumulative T score was 42.9 with average change of -0.072 preoperatively versus postoperatively. Average sleep disturbance T score was 38.9 preoperatively and 41.4 postoperatively. There was no statistically significant difference in T score in any domain. The mean actigraphy activity data demonstrated near immediate return to baseline activity. Actigraphy sleep data demonstrate improvement in sleep fragmentation and decreased duration of awakenings.

Conclusions: Overall, patient-generated data detected differences in sleep and activity preoperatively versus postoperatively and demonstrated only a short period of activity disruption after CTR, which may be used when counseling patients. These data support actigraphy as a viable adjunct to traditional PROMS to evaluate the impact of surgical intervention and therefore may be useful in the study of other diseases affecting the upper extremity.


  • Heather A McMahon 1
  • John T Heineman 1
  • Brent R DeGeorge Jr 1


  • 1

    From the Department of Plastic Surgery, The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA


Ann Plast Surg