[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Other Articles
November 3, 1945


Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Neurosurgery and Pathology, Grace Hospital.

JAMA. 1945;129(10):668-672. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860440016006

It has been known for some time that workers exposed to repeated percussion may develop circulatory disturbances in the hands. The condition is most frequently associated with the use of the pneumatic hammer (or jack hammer) and consequently the term "pneumatic hammer disease" is the one most commonly employed. Other synonyms are dead fingers, white fingers, traumatic vasospastic syndrome, vasospastic disease of the hands and Raynaud's phenomenon. The industries in which pneumatic tools are now employed are numerous and increasing.. These industries include, mining, quarrying, road making, shipbuilding, locomotive and other work shops, airplane construction and shoemaking. The tools employed are pneumatic hammers, chisels, riveters, road drills and pounding and lasting machines. The condition has also been said to occur in telephone operators.

Other conditions associated with the use of vibrating tools have been described, but they are not within the scope of this paper. These conditions include changes in