Ulnar Artery Thrombosis
The hand is supplied by two main blood vessels, the radial artery (on the thumb side of the wrist/hand) and the
ulnar artery (on the small finger side of the wrist/hand). The ulnar artery may be injured by repetitive impact
from catching baseball or use of a jack hammer. Blood may clot (thrombosis) inside the injured ulnar artery.
Blood clots due to trauma are less common in the radial artery.
A blood clot inside the ulnar artery (ulnar artery thrombosis or UAT) results in diminished blood flow to the small
finger side of the hand producing pain on that side of the hand including the small finger. Numbness may occur
if the thrombosed ulnar artery enlarges and places pressure on the adjacent ulnar nerve. UAT is not very
common, so pain on the small finger side of the hand due to UAT may be confused with Guyon's canal
There may be cold sensitivity or cold intolerance due to reduced blood flow to the small finger and ring finger.
Gangrene (tissue death due to lack of blood supply) may sometimes occur.
Diagnosis of UAT can be aided with Doppler ultrasound which is an instrument that detects blood flow.
Arteriography may sometimes be useful, but the Doppler ultrasound test is usually sufficient to make the
diagnosis. Arteriography involves injecting a dye into the artery and taking X-rays to watch the flow of the dye
within the artery. An UAT will not allow passage of the dye since the thrombus blocks the inside of the ulnar
artery. Treatment of UAT usually involves cutting our the segment of thrombosed artery and sewing a vein graft
into the resultant defect.
QwiTM Gloves and the Qwi Solution may be beneficial for the prevention of UAT by reducing trauma to the ulnar
artery since the patented nerve protection pads divert pressure and vibration away from the ulnar artery and
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The black arrow in the drawing on the left
points to the ulnar artery. A blood clot may
sometimes form inside the ulnar artery in the
area of the palm.