Prevention of Cold Injuries: What can be Learned from Nerve Injury Patients?
ERASMUS MEDICAL CENTER ROTTERDAM (NETHERLANDS) DEPT OF PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY
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Patients who acquired an upper extremity nerve injury often complain about cold intolerance, reduced sensitivity and decreased task performance. This study tried to quantify these complaints and look in more detail at the thermal reaction to local cold exposure of the affected limb. We found that 36 of 107 subjects could be classified as cold intolerant. Eight of the cold intolerant subjects immersed their hands in 15 C water for 5 minutes after which infrared pictures of their affected hands were taken. The cold strain was acceptable for the patients. The damaged regions could easily be identified, most clearly 5 minutes after the hands were removed from the water. We conclude that the infrared temperature profile of the damaged hand after cold water immersion may be a helpful tool to assess the nerve damage. Similar tests exist for assessing the severity of non-freezing cold injuries NFCI. We suggest that comparison of the results between NFCI and nerve injury patients may yield interesting information about the nervous involvement in NFCI. The method may also be valuable to identify subjects that have a higher risk for cold injuries.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Stress Physiology