Cold stimulation test for Raynaud’s syndrome

Definition
This is a test that measures the temperature of each finger after being submerged 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.

For infants and children:
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:

     
  • infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)  
  • toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)  
  • preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)  
  • schoolage test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)  
  • adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)

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 phenomena.

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

What abnormal results mean
If your finger temperature takes greater than 20 minutes to return to pre-bath levels, Raynaud’s phenomena is indicated.

What the risks are
There are no risks associated with this test.

Special considerations
This test should not be performed if the blood supply to your fingers is compromised or if your fingers are infected.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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