Carpal Tunnel Syndrome(CTS): is a collection of signs and symptoms that result following compression of the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. Usually, the symptoms are
- Pain in median nerve distribution.
Sonographers bear the great pain to make sure that their patients feel comfortable, they are sacrificing their own health in dealing with the patient by not practicing good ergonomics, according to the occupational health and safety experts.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Type Of Work Activities Known To Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome In Sonographers Include:
- Frequent reaching above shoulder level.
- the uncomfortable positioning of the limb such as extension, flexion or deviation of hand.
- Repetitive motion.
- Unnatural position or awkward postures, commonly from reaching over patients during bedside exams
- Overuse, generally the result of downsizing and an increase in the number of exams performed per day.
- Forceful strain or exertions when compressing leg veins or when pushing into a patient’s abdomen
- Work activities to which the individual is unfamiliar.
Prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is multifactorial, involving Sonographers, department manager, and equipment manufacturers.
Prevention For Sonographers.
- They should report symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as soon as they occur.
- They should become familiar with and utilize adaptive equipment when scanning, such as wrist braces, support cushions.
- They should perform and learn some strengthening and stretching exercises in order to prevent injury.
- They should request ergonomically adaptable equipment.
- They must help educate their supervisors about occupational Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- They should learn the proper use of all the exam room equipment.
Prevention For Department Manager.
- They should supply ergonomically designed equipment.
- They should facilitate injury reporting and initiation of treatment.
- Work breaks must be built into the daily workloads and schedule should be modified.
Prevention For Equipment Manufacturers.
- Chairs and stool should be height-adjustable with back supports and footrests.
- Tables should have the capability to add IV poles, stirrups, and oxygen tank holders.
- Transducers should be wide enough to allow for a comfortable grip
- Transducer cables should be lightweight.
- Tables should be the appropriate width and length
- Tables used for cardiac exams should have removable or drop-out sections to allow the sonographer to maintain comfortable arm and hand positions when scanning.
- Ultrasound equipment should have adjustable monitors and keyboards.
- Exam tables should be height adjustable with hand or foot controls.
The economic impact of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome includes lost wages, more numerous Worker’s Compensation claims, medical insurance claims and increased sick and disability leave time, and ultimately compromised patient care as the profession loses the most experienced sonographers to injury. Injured sonographers can cost employers thousands of dollars each year. Loss of chargeable revenue can be as high as $520,000. Worker’s compensation claims have been estimated to amount to $29,000 -$32,000 per injury, or $2,700 per month. Medical bills for the average shoulder injury, excluding possible surgical treatment, can add up to $20,000 per year, or $1700 per month. The cost to an employer of hiring replacement staff for an injured sonographer can range between $60,000 to $80,000 per year, or from $5000 to $6500 per month. It has been estimated that the average cost to find and hire a sonographer is $10,000, which is the strong motivation for providing an ergonomic environment that will help protect experienced sonographers from injury and allow them to continue providing quality patient services.