Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
What is HAVS?
HAVS is the name for a condition that used to be called Vibration White Finger (VWF) and is caused by unprotected exposure to vibrating equipment, such as jack hammers and jigsaws.
It is a complex condition with musculoskeletal, neurological and vascular components and has the same symptoms as many other conditions which can make diagnosis difficult.
Magnitude, frequency, duration and transmission of vibration coupled with exposure time determine the severity of symptoms.
Vibration damages tiny blood vessels (arterioles, capillaries and venuoles) of the finger/hand as well as the nerves that regulate them. This can result in spasm of the blood vessels.
Spasm reduces blood supply to the tip of the fingers and can cause the following symptoms:-
- blanching (a change in colour due to poor blood flow, white, blue or red)
Symptoms can be caused by emotion (stress/anger) or cold exposure.
Who suffers HAVS?
Diagnosis of the condition is difficult.
If you have worked for long periods of time using vibration tools without protection and suffer any of the symptoms outlined above you may have HAVS.
Depending on the type of vibration tools, the length of exposure and the severity of symptoms you may be able to make a claim against previous employers for compensation.
The company I worked for no longer exists, can I still make a claim?
Yes – even if the company you worked for no longer exists, the company's insurance at the time is still valid and will pay compensation to appropriate patients.
What is the next step?
If you think you have HAVS:-
- Visit your GP to confirm your symptoms are relevant.
- Contact a solicitor who specialises in industrial disease who will organise the necessary assessments, usually on a no-win-no-fee basis.
- Arrange a clinical appointment directly with us (IVS).
Independent Vascular Services offer a complete vascular assessment service for HAVS using non-invasive, state of the art ultrasound machines and laser imagers.
Our aim is:
- To provide a comprehensive one visit service
- Patients seen within 4 weeks of referral
- Legal report issued within 2 weeks of visit
- To provide access to experienced Clinicians and Scientists in HAVS/VWF
Our service includes:
- Appointment letter and information leaflet by post
- Complete a medical questionnaire about symptoms and vibration/occupation history.
- Full ultrasound scan of the arteries of the neck, shoulder, arm and hand.
- Assessment for arterial entrapment (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)
- Blood pressures in your arm.
- Blood flow of the palm of the hand is assessed (Palmer arch assessment).
- Cold provocation test – hand placed in cold water followed by assessment of hand perfusion (blood flow) to your fingers using a laser imager.
- A formal report is compiled and forwarded to your GP, consultant or solicitor
- We can also provide access to a Consultant Vascular Surgeon who will also perform a physical examination and ask some more questions.
IVS Ltd accepts NHS and private patients as well as Medico-Legal instructions for this service at our Wythenshawe department. Please get in touch if you would like to make an appointment for this service.
To book in for an appointment or for more information on our HAVS service please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
✓ Comprehensive one visit service
✓ Patients seen within 4 weeks
✓ Legal report within 2 weeks of visit
✓ Access to experienced Clinicians and Scientists in HAVS/VWF
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