Purpose: The influence of vibration-induced white finger disease on the quality of life and possible social consequences is the subject of the study presented herein.
Method: The data acquisition was carried out by means of a standardized questionnaire. Parameters such as quality of life, professional practice, prevention and social security were assessed among other things.
Results: Nearly three quarters of the interviewees (n = 115) did not consult a physician with the occurrence of the first complaints. Physicians frequently made the correct diagnosis only with delay. From the first occurrence of symptoms to the acknowledgment as an occupational disease 0.5-34.5 years had usually elapsed. The quality of life affected the patients and their families. Change of profession and unemployment were frequently associated with substantial problems. There is clear need for information regarding the clinical picture, protective possibilities in the workplace, recognition as an occupational disease and financial problems. The introduction of industrial safety measures was not substantially affected by the occurrence of the disease.
Conclusions: A quick diagnosis and the recognition of this occupational disease are important in view of its potential reversibility upon discontinuation of the exposition to vibration. As a consequence, intensified preventive measures need to be called for.