Exploratory electromyography in the study of vibration-induced white finger in rock drillers

Br J Ind Med. 1982 Feb;39(1):89-97. doi: 10.1136/oem.39.1.89.


Electrophysiological observations made in the hands of a group of 16 rock-drillers were compared with 15 controls. Motor and sensory conduction velocities in the median and ulnar nerves together with the latency, duration, and amplitude of the evoked action potentials were measured. The differences between the groups were statistically significant mainly in latency, duration, and amplitude, especially of the sensory action potentials. Measurement of the conduction velocities, in general, proved to be less sensitive, and the only significant change observed was in the sensory conduction velocity in the median nerve when the first digit in the right hand was stimulated. The most interesting result was evidence of an increased prevalence of possible carpal tunnel syndrome in the exposed (44% compared with 7% in the control group). A similar set of data, but exclusively sensory and not standardised for age and sex, was obtained from 25 university students for comparison with the assigned groups. The results showed that apart from sensory duration the control group had values that were closest to the students while the vibration group had values furthest away.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology
  • Electromyography
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Hand / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining*
  • Neural Conduction
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Raynaud Disease / etiology
  • Raynaud Disease / physiopathology*
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiopathology
  • Vibration / adverse effects