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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.

Why is the Test Performed?

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

How is the Test 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.

Preparation for the Test

No special preparation is necessary for this test.

How will the Test Feel?

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

Cold stimulation test for Raynaud's phenomenon Risks

There are no risks associated with this test.


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

Normal Results for Cold stimulation test for Raynaud's phenomenon

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.

Review Date: 5/18/2009
Reviewed By: Mark James Borigini, MD, Rheumatologist in the Washington, DC Metro area. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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Further information

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