This test is used to assess the arterial sufficiency of the hand.

Performing the Test

  1. Ask the patient to make a tight fist.
  2. Compress both ulnar and radial arteries with your thumbs.
  3. Ask the patient to relax his/her hand. The palm should appear pale at this point.
  4. Release pressure over the artery in which you wish to test patency (ulnar or radial). The palm should flush (become more red) within a few seconds.
  5. Repeat the above steps to test the other artery (ulnar or radial). Persistent pallor after release of either artery indicates occlusion of that artery or its distal branches


  1. Bickley L, Hoekelman R. Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. Philadephia, Pa: Lippincott; 2009.