Test-retest reliability of neurophysiological tests of hand-arm vibration syndrome in vibration exposed workers and unexposed referents
Loss of vibration sensibility has been suggested as an early indicator of peripheral compression neuropathy, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Although vibration sensibility has been used frequently to evaluate carpal tunnel syndrome, the day-to-day reliability of vibration measurements in an industrial population measured at the workplace has not been assessed. Vibration sensibility testing was performed at the university ergonomics laboratory on 50 volunteers (100 hands) and at a newspaper company on 50 workers (100 hands). Vibration perception and disappearance thresholds were measured on two occasions separated by 3 to 5 days. Student's t tests indicated no significant differences between the first and second tests or between the two groups. Pearson product-moment correlations for test-retest reliability were lower in the industry group but were relatively high despite the less than optimal testing conditions. Our findings suggest that vibration sensibility measurements are reliable from day to day not only in the laboratory but also in the workplace.