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RR665: The influence of posture and environmental temperature on the diagnostic ability of finger systolic blood pressure

Individuals with the vascular component of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) experience whiteness or blanching of the fingers in cold conditions, which is accompanied by numbness and then tingling or pain when the fingers warm-up. In the absence of a gold-standard diagnosis based upon pathology it is currently necessary to rely on self-reporting of key symptoms for the vascular component, which include the frequency and extent of blanching attacks. The accuracy and reproducibility of the diagnosis and staging depends upon an individual’s recall of their current symptoms and when they first commenced. Consequently there is a need for a suitable diagnostic test to help confirm the diagnosis.

Measurement of Finger Systolic Blood Pressure (FSBP) with cold-provocation has been reported to be of diagnostic value in individuals with the vascular component of HAVS and those with Primary Raynauds phenomenon. The overall aim of this work was to investigate if factors such as posture and environmental temperature were important in influencing the ability of FSBP to discriminate between controls and those with Primary Raynauds.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2010-03-19