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Cold stimulation test for Raynaud's phenomenon

The cold stimulation test for Raynaud's phenomenon is a test that measures the temperature of each finger after they are placed in an ice-water bath.

  • How the test is performed

    A heat sensor is taped to your fingers and the temperature is recorded. Your hand is then immersed in ice water for 20 seconds. Then it is removed from the bath and the temperature recorded every 5 minutes until your finger temperature is the same as it was before the bath.

  • How to prepare for the test

    No special preparation is necessary for this test.

  • How the test will feel

    There may be some discomfort while your hand is in the cold water.

  • Why the test is performed

    This test is a screening tool for Raynaud's phenomenon.

  • Normal Values

    Normally your finger temperature will return to normal within 15 minutes after the cold water exposure.

  • What abnormal results mean

    You may have Raynaud's phenomenon if your finger temperature takes greater than 20 minutes to return to pre-bath temperature.

  • What the risks are

    There are no risks associated with this test.

  • Special considerations

    This test should not be performed if you have a finger infection or problems with the blood supply to your fingers.

Review Date: 5/18/2009

Reviewed By: Mark James Borigini, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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