Fort Myers Ice Water Immersion Exam | Vascular Testing

Ice Water Immersion Exam

What is Raynaud’s Syndrome?

Raynaud’s phenomenon is an exaggeration of vasomotor responses to cold or emotional stress. More specifically, it is a hyperactivation of the sympathetic system causing extreme constriction of the peripheral blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s Syndrome?

The condition can cause pain within the affected extremities, discoloration (paleness) and sensations of cold and/or numbness. If someone with Raynaud’s is placed in too cold a climate, it could potentially become dangerous.

The symptoms include several cyclic color changes:

  • When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood supply to the fingers or toes, and in some cases the nose or earlobes, is markedly reduced; the skin turns pale or white (called pallor), and becomes cold and numb.
  • When the oxygen supply is depleted, the skin color turns blue (called cyanosis).
  • These events are episodic, and when the episode subsides or the area is warmed, the blood flow returns and the skin color first turns red (rubor), and then back to normal, often accompanied by swelling, tingling, and a painful “pins and needles” sensation.

What can I expect during the exam?

A complete examination takes approximately 45 minutes.  A technologist will perform the test. Baseline pressures and pulses will be taken to determine any underlying peripheral arterial disease. Then the digits to be tested will be immersed in ice water until vasoconstriction occurs. The extremity will then be removed from the ice water and the pulse volume of the digits will be retaken for any changes.

Patient Instructions

  • Allow 45 minutes for the study
  • If fingers are to be examined – a short sleeve shirt is best
  • If toes are to be examined you will be asked to remove socks and shoes
  • No additional preparation is needed for this procedure

Please call us with any questions or to schedule an appointment for a Fort Myers ice water immersion exam: (239) 694-8346