Strain at the subclavian artery during the upper limb tension test

Aust J Physiother. 1994;40(4):243-8. doi: 10.1016/S0004-9514(14)60460-8.


The manoeuvres of the upper limb tension test (ULTT) were described by Elvey (1983 and 1985) to identify the presence of a brachial plexus component in upper arm pain. A pilot study was undertaken to examine strain at the subclavian artery during the ULTT in two embalmed cadavers. Photographs of the artery segments were obtained at each step of the test and from these, strain scores were calculated. Results show that limb manoeuvres conducted with cervical contralateral lateral flexion produced more strain than with ipsilateral lateral flexion. Since cervical contralateral lateral flexion appears capable of increasing strain at the subclavian artery, further studies comparing strain at the artery with strain at cervical nerves are indicated.

Keywords: Brachial Plexus; Chemoreceptors; Mechano-receptors; Subclavian Artery.