Overview & Description
This test looks for reduced blood flow in the fingers after theyare exposed to cold temperatures.
Who is a candidate for the test?
A cold stimulation test may be advised when ahealthcare provider suspects Raynaud phenomenon.This condition causes the small arteries of the fingers, toes, ears, or nose togo into spasm. The spasm causes changes in skin color. Feelings ofnumbnessand pain also often occur. Cold temperatures or emotional stress can bringon symptoms of Raynaud phenomenon. When this condition lasts for 2 years ormore and an underlying cause cannot be found, it is called Raynaud disease.The cold stimulation test is used to see if a person’s symptoms are fromRaynaud phenomenonor other causes of low blood flow, such as atherosclerosis.
How is the test performed?
A heat sensor is attached to the person’s fingers to measuretheir normal temperature. Then, each finger is chilled with cold water orsome other device. The fingers are removed from the cold after a shortperiod of time. The skin temperature of the fingers is measured every 5minutes until it returns to normal.
Preparation & Expectations
What is involved in preparation for the test?
No special preparation is needed for this test.
Results and Values
What do the test results mean?
Normally, cold causes little decrease in blood flow to thefingers. Skin temperature generally returns to normal within 15 minutes.Raynaud phenomenonmay be present if it takes more than 20 minutes for the fingers to return tonormal temperature.
Article type: xmedgeneral