Vibration key in power tool blood vessel damage

Blood vessel damage caused by power tool use may depend on the frequency of the vibrations that different tools produce, US researchers believe.

Exposure to hand-transmitted vibration from tools such as electric sanders and electric hand drills can lead to blood flow restriction, with individual fingers or a whole hand losing circulation and becoming numb.

Dr Kristine Krajnak and colleagues from the US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, examined the effect of vibration frequency on such vascular injuries in rats.

They found that higher levels of oxidative stress were produced by higher frequency vibrations of the sort produced by an electric sander (125-250 Hz). Higher levels of pro-inflammatory factors, which can lead to vascular injury, resulted from lower frequency vibrations (of around 65 Hz), as produced by electric hand drills.

The findings were presented at the Experimental Biology 2009 meeting in New Orleans.

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