Residual limbs of amputees are significantly cooler than contralateral intact limbs

Robert N Harden*, Christine M Gagnon, Michael Gallizzi, Anjum S. Khan, Devon Newman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To test the hypothesis that distal residual limbs (DRLs) have significant vasomotor abnormalities. Design: Comparative surface temperature studies of DRLs using paired samples (DRL vs. similar site on intact contralateral limb). Subjects/Patients: Thirty-six volunteer subjects with unilateral, upper or lower limb amputations were recruited and evaluated at a pain research center in an urban academic rehabilitation facility. Methods: Our main outcomes were subjects' residual limb temperature as measured by quantitative infrared telethermography (qIRT), temperature strips, and examiner's palpation, compared with the contralateral limb. Results: The qIRT showed that the DRLs were significantly cooler than the corresponding area of the contralateral intact limbs (P < 0.01). The difference using temperature strips supported this finding (P < 0.05); while on physical examination, 39% of the residual limbs were perceived by the examiner as cooler than the corresponding unaffected limbs. Conclusions: DRLs as measured by qIRT were significantly cooler than the corresponding area of the contralateral intact limbs. A better understanding of these findings may be important in elucidating the pathophysiology of relevant clinical features such as a potential sympathetic component of postamputation pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-347
Number of pages6
JournalPain Practice
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2008

Keywords

  • Distal residual limbs
  • Sympathetically maintained pain
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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