University of Oulu

Hulkkonen, S., Auvinen, J., Miettunen, J. et al. Smoking is associated with ulnar nerve entrapment: a birth cohort study. Sci Rep 9, 9450 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41598-019-45675-1

Smoking is associated with ulnar nerve entrapment : a birth cohort study

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Author: Hulkkonen, Sina1; Auvinen, Juha2,3,4; Miettunen, Jouko2,3;
Organizations: 1Department of Hand Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Oulunkaari Health Center, Ii, Pudasjärvi, Finland
5Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-11-04


Ulnar nerve entrapment is the second most common compression neuropathy of the upper extremity. It has been associated with smoking in cross-sectional studies. Our aim was to study whether smoking is associated with ulnar nerve entrapment. The study population consisted of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 participants, who attended the 31-year follow-up in 1997 (N = 8,716). Information on smoking, body mass index (BMI), long-term illnesses, and socio-economic status were recorded at baseline in 1997. Data on hospitalizations due to ulnar nerve entrapment neuropathies was obtained from the Care Register for Health Care, 1997–2016. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) and population attributable risk (PAR) were calculated adjusted for gender, BMI and socio-economic status. 66 patients were diagnosed with ulnar nerve entrapment in the follow-up 1997–2016. Before the age of 31 years, smoking ≤10 pack years associated with more than doubled (HR = 2.57, 95% CI = 1.29–5.15) and smoking >10 pack years with more than five-folded (HR = 5.61, 95% CI = 2.80–11.23) risk for ulnar nerve entrapment compared to non-smokers in the adjusted analyses. Adjusted PAR for smoking (reference of no smoking) was 53.6%. In our study, smoking associated with increased risk for ulnar nerve entrapment, accounting for considerable proportion of increased risk.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 9
Article number: 9450
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45675-1
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: The studies reported in this article were supported by a research grant from the Vappu Uuspää foundation and the Lapland Research Fund to Sina Hulkkonen.
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