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Neurosensory component of hand-arm vibration syndrome: a 22-year follow-up study



Neurosensory component of hand-arm vibration syndrome: a 22-year follow-up study



Occupational Medicine 2019



Knowledge about the long-term course of the neurologic component of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is scarce. To study the course and prognostic factors of the neurosensory component of HAVS over a period of 22 years. Forty male sheet metal workers, with a mean age of 60 (range 45-78) years at follow-up, were examined with a test battery in 1994 and 2017. At baseline, the sample comprised 27 workers with HAVS symptoms and 13 workers without HAVS symptoms. Among the 27 workers, 25 workers reported work-related hand-arm vibration during follow-up (mean 3639 h). In 2017, the mean time since vibration stopped was 8.4 years. Among the 27 workers with HAVS in 1994, no overall statistically significant change was observed in hand numbness (Stockholm Workshop Scale), shoulder/arm pain (pain scale) or finger pain from 1994 to 2017. However, vibration exposure during follow-up was associated with increased finger pain. Cotinine, carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, glycosylated haemoglobin and folate were not associated with changes in neurosensory symptoms or manual dexterity (Grooved Pegboard) from 1994 to 2017. A diagnosis of HAVS in 1994 did not predict poor hand strength 22 years later. Isolated hand numbness (without white finger attacks) was more common at baseline than at follow-up. This 22-year follow-up study indicates a tendency towards irreversibility of hand numbness and finger pain in workers with HAVS. Continued vibration exposure seems to predict increased finger pain. Our findings highlight the importance of HAVS prevention.

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Accession: 066611499

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30896020

DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqz029


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