Evaluation of Allen's test in both arms and arteries of left and right-handed people

A. C. Oettlé*, A. van Niekerk, J. M. Boon, J. H. Meiring

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The Allen's test as described in 1929 by Edgar V. Allen has been modified, adapted and complemented by other newer modalities but remains a first line standard test to evaluate the arterial supply of the hand. In this study an attempt has been made to add more information regarding the arterial supply of the hand, in left- and right-handed individuals, left and right hands and the ulnar and radial arteries, when doing the Allen's test. A modified Allen's test using an oxygen saturation monitor was used. The sample group consisted of 80 (30 left-handed and 50 right-handed) students. No significant differences between the Allen's test of the left and right hands in the left and right-handed individuals were found. There was a marginal but not significant difference between the two arteries. The ulnar artery took slightly longer to reach baseline values as compared to the radial artery. The results suggest that a positive Allen's test can be found in both left and right-handed people, with regard to the left and right hands and both radial and ulnar arteries may be implicated. This information should be kept in mind when selecting either the radial or ulnar artery for grafting purposes (e.g. coronary angiosurgery) and forearm artery cannulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Collateral circulation
  • Oximetry
  • Patient selection
  • Radial artery
  • Ulnar artery


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