Digital tourniquets : A comparative analysis of pressures and pain perception

Published online: Apr 27 2008

Soulat Naim, Makaram S. Srinivasan

From Blackburn Royal Infirmary, Blackburn, United Kingdom


Digital tourniquets have been condemned because of the reported occurrence of neurovascular complications. This study compares the pressures and pain perception between three different tourniquets, namely the rubber glove finger stall, Foley's urinary catheter and the commercial band tourniquet. The subjects involved were 20 volunteers with 80 fingers studied in total. A direct pressure measuring technique was used. The pressures recorded were highest and most variable with the catheter tourniquet, whereas the rubber glove tourniquet recorded the lowest pressures. Correspondingly, visual analogue scale in relation to patient discomfort showed high scores with the catheter tourniquet and low scores with the rubber glove tourniquet. We conclude that catheter tourniquet use should be avoided as it generates extreme and variable pressures, whereas rubber glove finger stall tourniquets appear as a better alternative.