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Can sensation of cold hands predict Raynaud's phenomenon or paraesthesia?

Journal article
Authors D. Carlsson
J. Wahlstrom
L. Burstrom
Mats Hagberg
R. Lundstrom
H. Pettersson
T. Nilsson
Published in Occupational Medicine
Volume 68
Issue 5
Pages 314-319
ISSN 0962-7480
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Pages 314-319
Language en
Keywords Hand-arm vibration, hand-arm vibration syndrome, Raynaud's phenomenon, paraesthesia, sensation, arm vibration syndrome, induced white finger, diagnosis, exposure, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Subject categories Environmental Health and Occupational Health


Background Raynaud's phenomenon and neurosensory symptoms are common after hand-arm vibration exposure. Knowledge of early signs of vibration injuries is needed. Aims To investigate the risk of developing Raynaud's phenomenon and paraesthesia in relation to sensation of cold hands in a cohort of male employees at an engineering plant. Methods We followed a cohort of male manual and office workers at an engineering plant in Sweden for 21 years. At baseline (1987 and 1992) and each follow-up (1992, 1997, 2002, 2008), we assessed sensation of cold, Raynaud's phenomenon and paraesthesia in the hands using questionnaires and measured vibration exposure. We calculated risk estimates with univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses and adjusted for vibration exposure and tobacco usage. Results There were 241 study participants. During the study period, 21 individuals developed Raynaud's phenomenon and 43 developed paraesthesia. When adjusting the risk of developing Raynaud's phenomenon for vibration exposure and tobacco use, the odds ratios were between 6.0 and 6.3 (95% CI 2.2-17.0). We observed no increased risk for paraesthesia in relation to a sensation of cold hands. Conclusions A sensation of cold hands was a risk factor for Raynaud's phenomenon. At the individual level, reporting a sensation of cold hands did not appear to be useful information to predict future development of Raynaud's phenomenon given a weak to moderate predictive value. For paraesthesia, the sensation of cold was not a risk factor and there was no predictive value at the individual level.

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