Atkins et al identified a number of features indicating algodystrophy (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) that occur in patients who have had a Colles' fracture. This is relatively common but may be unappreciated unless specifically looked for by the clinician. The authors are from the University of Sheffield Medical School in England.


Features that were 100% sensitive for algodystrophy:

(1) dolorimetry ratio (affected side tender, 97% specific)

(2) vasomotor instability (change in color, change in temperature, exaggerated response to environmental conditions, excessive sweating; 95% specific)

(3) loss of finger movement (95% specific)


Features that were 100% specific:

(1) pain in the hand (sensitivity 86%)

(2) increased hand volume ratio (affected hand swollen, sensitivity only 14%)


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