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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2008 Apr;81(5):507-18. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

Diagnosis of vascular injuries caused by hand-transmitted vibration.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Ube, Japan.



For a reliable objective diagnosis of vascular injuries in hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), the standardized cold provocation tests--finger skin temperature measurement during hand(s) immersion in cold water (FST test) and finger systolic blood pressure measurement during local cold exposure (FSBP test)--are widely used. In recent years there is a growing controversy regarding the diagnostic value of these tests. The aim of this study was to describe particularly the diagnostic performance of FST and FSBP tests, and also to focus on the problems and uncertainties regarding the test conditions and results, in the laboratory diagnosis of vascular injuries caused by hand-transmitted vibration.


A review of pertinent published English- and Japanese-language articles and conference proceedings (between 1976 and 2006) was conducted.


From the reports with regard to diagnostic significance of the FSBP test, it seems to be an important laboratory test for diagnosing vibration-induced white finger (VWF). On the other hand, despite a large number of research studies with the FST test, there is a lack of data for the standardized FST test, which can confirm the value of it in diagnosing VWF. Moreover, there is no agreement on effective parameter/s to quantify and compare the responses in FST induced by immersion in cold water. While assessing and staging vascular injuries in HAVS, inquiry regarding finger coldness appears to be useful.


As there is no single test with satisfactory diagnostic ability for VWF, at present it is reasonable to use the cold provocation tests as a part of the comprehensive approach to evaluate HAVS patients. In addition to the objective methods, the index of finger coldness may be useful while diagnosing the vascular component of HAVS.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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