Purpose: Tilt table testing mainly evaluates the systemic cardiovascular part of the autonomic nervous system, while it is assumed that the finger wrinkling test assesses the peripheral part of the autonomic nervous system. In this study we explored whether the finger wrinkling test could be a useful test for autonomic dysfunction and whether the clinical evaluation of wrinkling can be improved by digital analysis of photographs. Methods: As much as 20 healthy subjects and 15 patients underwent tilt table testing and finger wrinkling testing. During the finger wrinkling test the right hand was immersed in water at 40°C. The degree of wrinkling was assessed with a 5-point clinical scale at baseline, 5, 15 and 30 min of immersion. Photographs were taken at the same intervals. Several features were evaluated using digital analysis: length and gradient of automatically detected wrinkle and mean, maximum, minimum, variance and derivative of grey value of pixels. Results: Clinical scoring of wrinkling allowed differentiation between healthy subjects and patients with a normal and an abnormal response to tilt table testing. Relevant features obtained with digital analysis were mean grey value and the gradient of automatically detected wrinkle. McNemar’s test showed no difference in test results between the tilt table test and the finger wrinkling test with a kappa of 0.68. Conclusion: The finger wrinkling test can be used as a screening test before tilt table testing. Visual evaluation of wrinkling is still superior to digital analysis of photographs.
- Autonomic dysfunction - Tilt table test - Finger wrinkling test - Digital analysis