Hand-arm vibration syndrome from exposure to high-pressure hoses. (49/492)

Hand-arm vibration syndrome has been reported in the literature to occur following exposure to vibration from the use of many tools, but to date there have been no case reports of its occurrence in workers who have used high-pressure hoses, alone or with other tools. To remedy this, the case histories of nine subjects (two without mixed exposure) examined in the UK and Canada are presented, together with their severity classified according to the Stockholm scales. Attention is drawn to the need to use multiple diagnostic tests to establish the diagnosis and the need to implement vibration isolation and damping methodologies, as and when feasible, with respect to hose nozzles in order to minimize the hazard. The ultimate goal for tool manufacturers, hygienists and engineers should be to reduce workplace vibration levels to meet national and international guidelines and legislation, including UK Health & Safety Executive guidelines and European Economic Community directives. The respective risk levels are presented, together with vibration measurements on hoses used by some of the cases.  (+info)

Rheumatic disorders and primary biliary cirrhosis: an appraisal of 170 Italian patients. (50/492)

OBJECTIVE: To establish the frequency of connective tissue diseases (CTD) in a cohort of Italian patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and to evaluate the availability of a marker for the early identification of the more common associated CTD. METHODS: One hundred and seventy consecutive patients with histologically diagnosed PBC were screened for the presence of a CTD and/or Raynaud's phenomenon (RP). Patients were classified as having a CTD only if they fulfilled standardised criteria. RESULTS: Forty seven patients had a CTD. The most common CTD was systemic sclerosis (SSc), found in 21 patients. RP was present in 54 patients, most of whom (n=39) had an associated CTD. The most prevalent autoantibodies included antinuclear antibodies (ANA) with anticentromere (ACA) and speckled patterns (34 and 33 patients, respectively) and extractable nuclear antigens (ENA, 27 patients). However, while the frequencies of ACA and ENA were significantly higher in patients with an associated CTD (p<0.0001 and p<0.005, respectively), no relationship was found for speckled ANA. ACA was the best predictor of a CTD in patients with PBC (odds ratio (OR) 24.5, 95% CI 5.5 to 108.8), followed by the presence of ENA (OR 23.9, 95% CI 5.6 to 101.0) and RP (OR 20.2, 95% CI 5.7 to 71.2). CONCLUSIONS: Using strict standardised classification criteria we have found that SSc is the most common CTD associated with PBC and that ACA and ENA are strong markers for an associated CTD in patients with PBC.  (+info)

From Belfast to Mayo and beyond: the use and future of plethysmography to study blood flow in human limbs. (51/492)

Venous occlusion plethysmography is a simple but elegant technique that has contributed to almost every major area of vascular biology in humans. The general principles of plethysmography were appreciated by the late 1800s, and the application of these principles to measure limb blood flow occurred in the early 1900s. Plethysmography has been instrumental in studying the role of the autonomic nervous system in regulating limb blood flow in humans and important in studying the vasodilator responses to exercise, reactive hyperemia, body heating, and mental stress. It has also been the technique of choice to study how human blood vessels respond to a variety of exogenously administered vasodilators and vasoconstrictors, especially those that act on various autonomic and adrenergic receptors. In recent years, plethysmography has been exploited to study the role of the vascular endothelium in health and disease. Venous occlusion plethysmography is likely to continue to play an important role as investigators seek to understand the physiological significance of newly identified vasoactive factors and how genetic polymorphisms affect the cardiovascular system in humans.  (+info)

The use of portable radiometry to assess Raynaud's phenomenon: a practical alternative to thermal imaging. (52/492)

OBJECTIVES: To compare the performance of a portable radiometer with thermal imaging and to assess the potential for radiometry to provide a practical alternative for assessing vascular responsiveness in Raynaud's phenomenon (RP). METHODS: Subjects comprised 18 patients with diagnosed RP and 19 non-RP subjects. A thermal imager (Starsight) and a portable radiometer (Cyclops) measured digital temperature at baseline and the subsequent drop and rise in temperature following a cold challenge test. RESULTS: The intra-class correlations between the two instruments for all three measures exceeded 80%. The overall performance of each instrument was almost the same, the Starsight thermal imager correctly classifying 84% of subjects as RP or non-RP and the Cyclops portable radiometer correctly classifying 86% of subjects. The sensitivity of the thermal imager was 83%, compared with 89% for the portable radiometer; the specificity of both instruments was 84%. The positive and negative predictive values of the thermal imager were 83 and 84% respectively, and those for the portable radiometer were 84 and 89%. CONCLUSIONS: The two instruments performed equally well and the differences between them in their absolute measurements did not influence their ability to detect RP. Portable radiometry provides a practical, cheap, accurate and reliable alternative to thermal imaging and has the potential to be used in range of clinical and epidemiological settings.  (+info)

Activity of matrix metalloproteinase-9 is elevated in sera of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. (53/492)

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the increased production of autoantibodies and by systemic clinical manifestations and damage to multiple organs. The aim of the present study was to analyse matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 activity in sera of patients with active and inactive SLE in order to evaluate its role in the pathogenesis and course of the disease, as well as its diagnostic value. We measured activity levels of MMP-9 and MMP-2, using both gel zymography and activity assay kits, in sera of 40 SLE patients and of 25 healthy controls. We found that MMP-9 activity, but not MMP-2 activity, is significantly elevated in the sera of SLE patients compared with sera samples of healthy controls. High activity levels of MMP-9 were determined in sera of 68% of the SLE patients. Elevated levels of MMP-9 were correlated with the presence of discoid rash, Raynaud phenomenon, pneumonitis, mucosal ulcers and anti-phospholipid antibodies. Changes in activity levels of MMP-9, but not of MMP-2, were observed in sera of the same patient at different periods of the disease course. High levels of MMP-9 did not correlate with disease activity index (SLEDAI, BILAG) in female patients, but correlated with SLE activity in the group of male patients. The results of the present study suggest that MMP-9 plays a role in the pathogenesis of SLE.  (+info)

Complete heart block and systemic lupus erythematosus. (54/492)

An 18-year-old girl with systemic lupus erythematosus developed progressive electrocardiographic abnormalities over a period of 16 years, culminating in complete heart block with Adams-Stokes attacks. A permanent ventricular pacing system was implanted successfully.  (+info)

Digital vascular response to topical glyceryl trinitrate, as measured by laser Doppler imaging, in primary Raynaud's phenomenon and systemic sclerosis. (55/492)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate digital microvascular responses to topical glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) in patients with primary Raynaud's phenomenon (PRP), limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (LCSSc) and healthy control subjects, using laser Doppler imaging. METHODS: Ten patients with PRP, 13 with LCSSc and 10 control subjects were studied. Baseline skin microvascular blood flow of the dorsum of the index, middle and ring fingers of the non-dominant hand was measured using scanning laser Doppler imaging. After the initial image, 2% GTN ointment was rubbed on the dorsum of one finger for 1 min; placebo ointment was rubbed on the dorsum of a second finger for 1 min, and the third finger remained untreated. Further laser Doppler scanning of these three fingers was conducted immediately, 10 and 20 min after ointment application. RESULTS: There was increased blood flow response to placebo compared with no treatment (P<0.001) and to GTN compared with placebo (P=0.004). The change in blood flow over time differed significantly between placebo and GTN (P<0.001), but not between placebo and no ointment application: blood flow increased with GTN and decreased with placebo/no treatment at 10 and 20 min. There were no differences in initial baseline blood flow or response between the subject groups. CONCLUSIONS: An exogenous supply of nitric oxide by topical GTN ointment causes local endothelial-independent vasodilatory responses in PRP, LCSSc patients and control subjects. As well as demonstrating the effectiveness of topical GTN in patients with PRP and LCSSc, this study illustrates the ability of laser Doppler imaging to quantify local vasodilatory effects.  (+info)

Endoscopic thoracic sympathicotomy for Raynaud's phenomenon. (56/492)

PURPOSE: For many years, thoracic sympathectomy via open surgery was not used to treat Raynaud's phenomenon because of the invasiveness of this procedure and the poor long-term outcomes associated with it. However, with the introduction of endoscopic surgery, thoracic sympathectomy (or sympathicotomy) has been performed by some surgeons as a less invasive surgical option for patients with Raynaud's phenomenon. The less invasive procedure has the possibility of emphasizing merits of sympathectomy. The purpose of this study was to reevaluate the efficacy of sympathicotomy for Raynaud's phenomenon with endoscopic technique and its range of applicability. METHODS: Between December 1992 and August 2001, endoscopic thoracic sympathicotomy (ETS) was performed in 28 patients with Raynaud's phenomenon (of a total of 502 patients with autonomic disorders who underwent ETS) at National Kanazawa Hospital. We considered indications for surgical treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon to include severe chronic symptoms or nonhealing digital ulceration refractory to intensive medical therapy. All patients were mailed a self-assessment questionnaire after surgery to determine the immediate and long-term results of the procedure. Data from both initial and long-term follow-up examinations were obtained. RESULTS: Fifty-four ETS procedures were performed in 28 patients. No operative mortality was seen, and no occurrence of major complications necessitated open surgery. Initial resolution or improvement of symptoms was achieved in 26 of 28 patients (92.9%). However, later in the postoperative period, symptoms recurred in 23 of 28 patients (82.1%), although no recurrence of digital ulceration was seen throughout our observation. At the final follow-up examination (median follow-up period, 62.5 months), 25 patients (89.3%) reported overall improvement of the frequency and severity of their symptoms. CONCLUSION: Despite the high rate of recurrence, ETS clearly produced a high rate of initial relief. ETS did indeed promote healing of digital ulcers, and the procedure shows potential for reducing the severity of refractory symptoms. We consider ETS to be the method of choice for treatment of severe or refractory Raynaud's phenomenon, and especially for Raynaud's involving digital ulcer, because of its safety and efficacy.  (+info)