Current perception threshold and the HAVS Stockholm sensorineural scale.

House R, Krajnak K, Manno M, Lander L.
Occup Med (Lond). 2009 Oct;59(7):476-82. Epub 2009 May 21.

BACKGROUND: It is important to determine which tests of sensorineural dysfunction identify the neurological damage from hand-arm vibration exposure.

AIMS: To examine the association between the hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) Stockholm sensorineural scale stages and tests of peripheral neurological function including measurement of current perception threshold (CPT) and nerve conduction.

METHODS: All the subjects were men who were assessed for HAVS with a medical and occupational history and physical examination to determine the Stockholm stage, CPT testing at frequencies of 5, 250 and 2000 Hz for the median and ulnar nerves and measurement of nerve conduction carried out in a blinded fashion.

RESULTS: A total of 155 of the 157 recruited subjects agreed to take part in the study, a 99% participation rate. CPT was statistically significantly increased (P < 0.001) in both Stockholm sensorineural Stages 1 and > or =2 in comparison to Stage 0 for every frequency and nerve combination. However, CPT could not discriminate well between Stages 1 and > or =2. There was no association between median or ulnar neuropathy measured by nerve conduction and the Stockholm stages. Polychotomous multinomial logistic regression indicated that the CPT measurements at 2000 Hz, corresponding to damage to large myelinated nerve fibres, were most predictive of both Stockholm Stages 1 and > or =2 in comparison to Stage 0.

CONCLUSIONS: Neuropathy measured by nerve conduction was unrelated to the Stockholm scale stages. CPT was increased above Stage 0 but did not distinguish well between the higher stages of the Stockholm scale.

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