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Cold Hand Clinic: Diagnosis

Our first priority is to accurately identify the cause of your cold hand symptoms. In most cases, this is simple -- the cause is a problem in the blood vessels that only affects the hands (and sometimes, the feet). However, for a smaller population, cold hands syndrome is related to an underlying health condition that significantly affects other organ systems. In these more complex cases, our specialists can develop a treatment plan with consideration for unique concerns related to your co-existing health condition.

Medical Assessment

We recognize the importance of developing a comprehensive understanding of each patient's medical history. Our doctors complete a thorough medical assessment to identify concurrent health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which may affect the treatment of cold hand diseases. We offer a multi-disciplinary treatment approach by leveraging the combined expertise of our diverse physician team. In the Cold Hand Clinic, hand surgeons, rheumatologists, hematologists, and radiologists work collaboratively to provide the most comprehensive assessment and care possible for people with cold hand issues.

Diagnostic Testing

Our team uses a variety of techniques to accurately diagnose vascular disorders of the hand, including:

  • Laser Doppler perfusion imaging: non-invasive imaging technique used to detect changes in blood flow and predict areas of concern before symptoms occur
Laser Doppler perfusion imaging of the hands
Laser Doppler images of normal, moderate and severely restricted blood flow in hands
  • Nailfold capillaroscopy: a diagnostic test used to examine microscopic blood vessels in the fingers.
  • Angiography (arteriography), including magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and computed tomography angiography (CTA): non-invasive imaging techniques used to map out anatomic structures in the vasculature of the hand and fingers
Diagnostic imaging of the hands
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), standard angiography, and 3-D imaging View larger images.
  • Vascular ultrasound: an imaging test used to detect blockages in blood vessels
  • Vascular pressure recording: a non-invasive test used to measure pressure in the blood vessels in order to assess pre-treatment disorder and measure post-treatment improvement
  • Segmental and/or digital plethysmography: an advanced testing method used to locate blocked or constricted vessels, by measuring and comparing changes in blood flow through different areas of the upper extremity

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  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Cold hands syndrome
  • Hypothenar hammer syndrome
  • Ischemia
  • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus)
  • Occlusive disorders
  • Raynaud's disease
  • Raynaud's phenomenon/syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Scleroderma
  • Thrombosis
  • Vasospastic disorders