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The effect of different warming methods on sensory nerve conduction velocity in shipyard workers occupationally exposed to hand-arm vibration.

Cherniack-M; Brammer-AJ; Lundstrom-R; Morse-TF; Neely-G; Nilsson-T; Peterson-D; Toppila-E; Warren-N; Diva-U; Croteau-M; Dussetschleger-J
Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2008 Aug; 81(8):1045-1058
Objectives: segmental sensory nerve conduction velocity (SNCV) was measured from the wrists to the hands and digits in a population of 134 (126 men and 8 women) vibration-exposed shipyard workers following systemic warming using a bicycle ergometer. Results were compared to earlier nerve conduction tests, identical in execution, except that the warming process was segmental and cutaneous. The study was designed to investigate whether SNCVs, which were selectively slow in the fingers after segmental cutaneous (skin surface) warming, would be affected differently by systemic warming. Methods: wrist-palm, palm-proximal digit, and digital sensory nerve segments were assessed antidromically by stimulating at the wrist with recording electrodes placed distally. The same subjects were cutaneously warmed in 2001 to =31 degrees C and were systemically warmed 28 months later in 2004 by ramped sustained exercise to 100 W for 12 min. Skin temperatures were measured by traditional thermistry and by infrared thermal images taken over the hand and wrist surfaces. Results: when systemic warming was compared to segmental cutaneous warming, SNCVs were increased by 15.1% in the third digit and 20.4% in the fifth digit of the dominant hand. Respective increases in the non-dominant hand were 11.0% and 19.4%. A strong association between increased surface skin temperature and faster SNCV, which had been observed after segmental cutaneous warming, was largely eliminated for both digit and palmar anatomic segments after systemic warming. Significant differences in SNCV between vibration-exposed and non-exposed workers, which had been observed after segmental cutaneous warming, were eliminated after systemic warming. Systemic warming had only a small effect on the wrist-palm (transcarpal) segmental SNCVs. Conclusions: reduced SNCV in the digits was observed in vibration-exposed and non-exposed workers. Substituting exercise-induced systemic warming for segmental cutaneous warming significantly increased SNCV in the digits and appeared to reduce differences in SNCV between vibration-exposed and non-exposed workers. These findings persisted despite a substantial time interval between tests, during which the subjects continued to work. There may be more general implications for diagnosing clinical conditions in industrial workers, such as the carpal tunnel syndrome and the hand-arm vibration syndrome.
Carpal-tunnel-syndrome; Ergonomics; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Hand-injuries; Heat-exposure; Nerve-damage; Nerve-fiber-excitation; Nerve-fibers; Nerve-function; Nerves; Neurological-diseases; Neurological-reactions; Neurological-system; Physiological-disorders; Physiological-effects; Physiological-factors; Physiological-response; Physiological-stress; Sensitivity-testing; Sensory-disorders; Sensory-motor-system; Sensory-perceptual-processes; Sensory-thresholds; Shipyard-industry; Shipyard-workers; Skin; Skin-exposure; Statistical-analysis; Surface-properties; Vibration; Vibration-effects; Vibration-exposure; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Author Keywords: Sensory nerve conduction velocity; Exercise-induced warming; Vibration exposure; Thermography
Martin Cherniack, Ergonomics Technology Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030-2017
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Grant
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U01-OH-007312; Grant-Number-T01-OH-008612
Issue of Publication
Source Name
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Performing Organization
University of Connecticut Schools of Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division