A preliminary laboratory study seeking an objective test for vascular insufficiency of the fingertips (Raynaud's syndrome) is described. In a limited number of subjects, circulatory changes in the vascular bed of one hand were examined by photocell plethysmography while the opposite hand was immersed in ice water. The time to complete recovery after cessation of the cold stimulus was significantly longer with primary Raynaud's patients than with the control subjects (p = 0.0045). The analysis of another parameter, the relative change in pulse amplitude during cold immersion, was confounded by age and sex differences between the Raynaud's and the control group. A follow-up investigation of the application of this technique to a population of vibration-exposed chipper and grinder and control workers is in progress.
©1981 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine