Athletic Training & Sports Medicine Center


Examination Links:


Allen Maneuver

Other Names Allen Test, Hyperabduction Syndrome Test
Examination type Neurological
Patient & Body Segment Positioning This test should be optimally performed with the patient sitting on a table. The patient should have their shoulder in 90 degrees abduction and external rotation, 90 degrees elbow flexion, and the forearm pronated. The head is then rotated to the opposite side of the arm being tested.
Examiner Position The examiner should position themselves behind the patient where they are able to take the radial pulse.
Performing the Test The patient is seated on the table with their shoulder in 90 degrees abduction and external rotation, 90 degrees elbow flexion, and forearm pronation. They then rotate their head to the opposite side being tested. The examiner then stands behind the patient and takes the radial pulse while the patient is in that position.
Tissues Being Tested Subclavian and axillary arteries and the brachial plexus
Positive Test A positive test for thoracic outlet syndrome  when the radial pulse disappears
Interpretation A positive test is present when there is compression of the subclavian and axillary vessels or the brachial plexus.
Common errors in performing exam A common error that could be made in this exam is not having the patient in the proper position. Also if the examiner is not palpating over the radial pulse then they will not be able to tell when the radial pulse disappears.
Factors possibly resulting in misinterpretation If the patient has another problem with their circulation other than thoracic outlet syndrome which may result in a positive test.
Related tests

Other test for thoracic outlet:

Anterior Scalene Syndrome Test (Adsonís Test)

Costoclaicular Syndrome (Rooís Test)

Military Brace Position Test


Magee, David (2002). Orthopedic Physical Assessment. Philadelphia: Saunders. p 287.

Prentice, William E. (2003). Arnheimís Principles of Athletic Training: A Competency-Based Approach (11th ed.).  St. Louis:  McGraw Hill. p 684.


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