Scientific/Clinical Article| Volume 30, ISSUE 4, P491-499, October 2017

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Hand-arm vibration syndrome: Workers' experience with functional impairment and disability

Published:March 20, 2017DOI:


      Study Design

      Qualitative and descriptive study.


      Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) is a prevalent disease in Canada. There is little work on the perspectives of HAVS patients.

      Purpose of the Study

      Explore perceptions of disability and functional compromise in patients with HAVS.


      Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with HAVS patients and analysed using content analysis.


      The 11 participants reported numbness, pain, and reduced dexterity, strength, and sensation. Participants noted that HAVS was an inevitable aspect of their work. They indicated frustration with their condition and viewed it as a disability. To overcome impairments risky strategies are often used. Participants reported lack of support to manage symptoms and overcome work disability.


      HAVS related impairment is disabling. Workers require improved resources and support to address symptom management and safe strategies to minimize work disability.


      HAVS patients experience functional, social, emotional, and psychological disability.

      Level of Evidence

      Not applicable.


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      JHT Read for Credit

      Quiz: #510

      Record your answers on the Return Answer Form found on the tear-out coupon at the back of this issue or to complete online and use a credit card, go to There is only one best answer for each question.
      • #1.
        The study design is
        • a.
        • b.
          a case series
        • c.
        • d.
          prospective cohort
      • #2.
        Data was obtained from
        • a.
          phone interviews
        • b.
          face-to-face live patient interviews
        • c.
          chart reviews
        • d.
          video-taped interviews with employees and employers
      • #3.
        The investigators were especially interested in identifying
        • a.
          the most common complaint
        • b.
          the average financial loss per participant as a result of their HAVS
        • c.
          the incidence of carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndromes
        • d.
          recurrent themes
      • #4.
        There was an overall feeling among the participants of______________ their work with vibrating tools
        • a.
          satisfaction with
        • b.
          regret for having performed
        • c.
          frustration with the residuals of
        • d.
          wanting to sue their employers for
      • #5.
        Though this study was carried out entirely on a Canadian population its conclusions can reasonably be applied to other western countries' populations
        • a.
        • b.
      When submitting to the HTCC for re-certification, please batch your JHT RFC certificates in groups of 3 or more to get full credit.