Surgery – MCQ 79 – Allen’s test

Allen’s test is useful in evaluating:
A. Thoracic outlet compression
B. Presence of cervical rib
C. Integrity of palmar arch
D. Digital blood flow

Correct answer : C. Integrity of palmar arch

How to perform allen’s test: (To check for patency of radial and ulnar arteries and to confirm integrity of the palmar arterial arch between them)

  1. The patient makes a tight fist
  2. The examiner compresses the radial and ulnar arteries distally
  3. The fist is released and compression of the ulnar artery is released
  4. The speed of return of colour to the palm is looked for
  5. Steps 1 and 2 are repeated, but release the radial artery compression instead of the ulnar artery
  6. Again look for speed of return of colour to the palm

Normally, the colour should return in 5-7seconds. This indicates that the arteries and the palmar arch is patent and functioning well.

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