Allen's Test

Allen's Test is a physical examination used to assess blood flow through the ulnar and radial arteries in the hand. It helps diagnose arterial occlusion.

By Bernard Ramirez on May 15, 2024.

Fact Checked by RJ Gumban.

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What is an Allen Test?

The is a medical procedure to assess the hand's arterial blood flow. It was first introduced by Dr. Edgar Van Nuys Allen in 1929. The test is frequently carried out before specific medical operations, such as arterial line placement, to ensure the patient has sufficient blood flow to their hand.

A healthcare professional, usually a nurse or doctor, performs the Allen Test. The clinician compresses the ulnar and radial arteries in the wrist while instructing the patient to clench their hand tightly. The hand turns pale as a result, showing that blood flow has momentarily stopped.

The healthcare professional then instructs the patient to slowly open their hand while only relieving pressure on the ulnar artery. The ulnar artery sufficiently supplies blood flow to the hand if the hand soon returns to normal color. The test is subsequently repeated, but this time the radial artery is the focus of pressure release. The hand should return to its usual color, demonstrating that the radial artery also supplies sufficient blood flow.

If, after releasing one of the arteries, the hand's color does not return to normal, there may be a blockage in that artery or insufficient blood flow. In certain situations, more testing or treatment may be necessary.

The Allen Test is a brief, non-invasive procedure that gives vital details about the hand's arterial blood flow. It is a helpful tool for medical professionals carrying out treatments that can impact blood flow to the hand.

Printable Allen's Test

Download this Allen's Test to assess blood flow through the ulnar and radial arteries in the hand.

How does this Allens Test work?

The Allen Test is a medical test that assesses the hand's arterial blood flow. A healthcare professional like a nurse or doctor can do this simple and non-invasive test. Here is how the Allen Test works:

Preparation

The patient is instructed to take a comfortable seat or lie down. The medical professional will then locate the radial and ulnar arteries in the wrist. The patient is advised to relax and keep their hand flat on a surface.

Occlusion

The medical professional put their fingers against the wrist's radial and ulnar arteries. The hand becomes pale as a result, showing that blood flow has momentarily stopped.

Release

The healthcare professional then instructs the patient to slowly open their hand while only relieving pressure on the ulnar artery. The ulnar artery sufficiently supplies blood flow to the hand if the hand swiftly returns to normal color.

Repeat

The test is subsequently repeated, but this time the radial artery is the focus of pressure release. The hand ought to return to its usual color, demonstrating that the radial artery is supplying sufficient blood flow.

Evaluation

Even after releasing one of the arteries, the hand's color does not return to normal, there may be a blockage in that artery or insufficient blood flow. In certain situations, more testing or treatment may be necessary.

The Allen Test briefly stops blood flow to the hand, allowing the medical professional to evaluate how well each of the two arteries in the wrist supplies blood to the hand. The primary blood vessels that supply the hand are the ulnar and radial arteries, and both are crucial for preserving healthy blood flow. The physician can assess if there is any blockage or insufficiency in blood flow from each artery by gradually releasing pressure on each one.

The Allen Test, in essence, is a swift and simple test that provides crucial details regarding the arterial blood flow to the hand. It is a helpful tool for medical professionals carrying out treatments like arterial line placement or vascular surgery that may impact blood flow to the hand.

Scoring

There is no standard scoring system for the Allen Test. Instead, the test gauges how well the blood is getting to the hand. If the hand returns to normal color after each artery is released, the healthcare professional will consider the test to be positive. 

Blood flow is deemed acceptable if the hand's color returns shortly after both arteries are freed. After releasing one of the arteries, if the hand's color does not return immediately, there may be a blockage or inadequate blood flow through that artery. 

This can assist the medical professional in deciding if more testing or treatment is required. Therefore, there is no scoring system for the Allen Test; instead, its results are determined by how quickly each artery returns to its original color after being released.

Allen's example (sample)

The Allen Test is a non-invasive and simple procedure that can be performed quickly by a healthcare provider, such as a nurse or physician. It is commonly used before certain medical procedures, such as arterial line placement, to ensure that the patient has an adequate blood supply to their hand. In this section, we've provided a sample of how the Allen Test works and what the results can indicate.

Download this Allen's Test Example (Sample) here:

Allen's example (sample)

When to use these Allen assessments?

The Allen Test is a simple yet efficient medical procedure that can be done to evaluate the hand's arterial blood flow. The Allen Test can be used in the following circumstances:

Before arterial line placement

A catheter is inserted into an artery during an arterial line placement to monitor blood pressure and gas levels. Healthcare professionals generally do the Allen Test before this surgery to ensure the patient has sufficient blood flow to their hand.

Prior to the radial artery harvest for coronary artery bypass surgery

The radial artery is frequently employed as a conduit in coronary artery bypass surgery. Since the radial artery is a significant blood vessel in the hand, the Allen Test is utilized to evaluate the collateral blood flow to the hand before the radial artery is harvested.

Assessment of blood flow in patients with peripheral artery disease

Blood flow to the arms and legs is impeded by a condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). Patients with PAD can utilize the Allen Test to assess blood flow in their hands.

Patients with Raynaud’s disease

Coldness, numbness, and discomfort are symptoms of Raynaud's illness, a disorder that causes the blood arteries in the fingers and toes to constrict. Patients with Raynaud's illness can perform the Allen Test to measure the amount of blood flowing into their hands.

After arterial catheter removal

The Allen Test can be performed to determine if blood flow to the hand has been restored after an arterial catheter has been withdrawn.

Benefits of these free Allen Test Templates

The following are some advantages of utilizing free Allen Test templates:

Standardized Format

A uniform framework for documenting test findings is provided by Allen Test templates, making it simpler to compare results over time or between patients.

Time-Saving

Using a pre-made template instead of making an entirely new test sheet for every patient saves time, allowing medical practitioners to concentrate on delivering treatment.

Consistent Documentation

By ensuring uniform documentation, templates help preserve accurate medical records and facilitate information sharing among healthcare professionals.

Accessibility

Healthcare workers may readily obtain and download free Allen Test templates from various sources, making them a useful tool.

Customization

Templates may be modified to meet the unique requirements of various practices or healthcare providers, providing flexibility in record-keeping and documentation.

Accuracy

Using a template helps lower the possibility of mistakes or omissions in paperwork, guaranteeing that all crucial information is correctly gathered.

Improved Patient Care

Ensuring that all pertinent information is captured and readily available, consistent, and accurate documentation may aid healthcare professionals in providing better care to their patients.

Why use this Allen's Test app?

The Allen's Test app offered by Carepatron is a valuable tool for healthcare providers who need to assess the patency of the ulnar and radial arteries in the hand. This app makes it easy for healthcare professionals to perform the Allen's Test accurately and efficiently, saving time and improving patient care.

Carepatron is the best place to use this type of app for several reasons. Firstly, Carepatron is a trusted healthcare technology provider with a proven track record of developing high-quality healthcare apps. The Allen's Test app is just one example of the many innovative apps that Carepatron has developed to improve healthcare workflows and patient outcomes.

In addition to the app's quality, Carepatron offers its users exceptional customer support. The company has a team of knowledgeable professionals available to answer any questions or concerns that users may have. This level of support ensures that healthcare providers can use the app confidently and easily.

Furthermore, Carepatron takes data privacy and security very seriously. The Allen's Test app is fully compliant with all relevant data privacy laws and regulations, ensuring that patient data is kept safe and secure.

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Who created Allen Test?
Who created Allen Test?

Commonly asked questions

Who created Allen Test?

Dr. Edgar Van Nuys Allen, an American physician, initially introduced the Allen Test in 1929.

How to use Allen’s Test?

The Allen Test is a straightforward process in which a medical professional occludes the radial and ulnar arteries at the wrist to see how soon the hand returns to normal color once the pressure is removed from each artery.

How do you score Allens Test?

To score the Allen Test, a healthcare provider will compare the time it takes for the patient's hand to return to its normal color after pressure is released from the ulnar artery versus the radial artery, and assess whether there is adequate blood flow through each artery.

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