Assessment of two alternative standardised tests for the vascular component of the hand–arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)

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Vibration-induced white finger (VWF) is the vascular component of the hand–arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Two tests have been standardised so as to assist the diagnosis of VWF: the measurement of finger rewarming times and the measurement of finger systolic blood pressures (FSBPs).


This study investigates whether the two tests distinguish between fingers with and without symptoms of whiteness and compares individual results between the two test methods.


In 60 men reporting symptoms of the HAVS, the times for their fingers to rewarm by 4°C (after immersion in 15°C water for 5 min) and FSBPs at 30°C, 15°C and 10°C were measured on the same day.


There were significant increases in finger rewarming times and significant reductions in FSBPs at both 15°C and 10°C in fingers reported to suffer blanching. The FSBPs had sensitivities and specificities >90%, whereas the finger rewarming test had a sensitivity of 77% and a specificity of 79%. Fingers having longer rewarming times had lower FSBPs at both temperatures.


The findings suggest that, when the test conditions are controlled according to the relevant standard, finger rewarming times and FSBPs can provide useful information for the diagnosis of VWF, although FSBPs are more sensitive and more specific.

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