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RR712 - The value of the WEST monofilaments in detecting neurosensory deficit caused by hand-arm vibration exposure

Hand-arm vibration syndrome is categorised according to the Stockholm Workshop scales. This comprises of a rating system for vascular (circulatory system) and sensorineural (touch and sensation) symptoms, which sufferers of this disease can experience. To establish the extent of the sensory component of this disease these scales require the Occupational Health Physician to decide whether they feel an individual has reduced sensory perception. Quantitative tests such as vibrotactile (VPT) and thermal perception threshold (TPT) measurements have been used widely for this, but are generally only available in specialist referral centres. Simple techniques such as monofilaments are cheaper to use and could potentially be used more widely than the specialist quantitative tests. However, it is unclear at present what method of application should be used and how diagnostically useful these are. This study investigates the value of monofilaments in defining neurosensory abnormality caused by excessive exposure to hand-arm vibration by establishing their ability to detect abnormality determined by the standard quantitative tests.

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