Altered thermoregulatory responses in heart failure patients exercising in the heat

Bryce N Balmain, Ollie Jay, Surendran Sabapathy, Danielle Royston, Glenn M Stewart, Rohan Jayasinghe, Norman R Morris

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Heart failure (HF) patients appear to exhibit impaired thermoregulatory capacity during passive heating, as evidenced by diminished vascular conductance. Although some preliminary studies have described the thermoregulatory response to passive heating in HF, responses during exercise in the heat remain to be described. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare thermoregulatory responses in HF and controls (CON) during exercise in the heat. Ten HF (NYHA classes I-II) and eight CON were included. Core temperature (Tc), skin temperature (Tsk), and cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC) were assessed at rest and during 1 h of exercise at 60% of maximal oxygen uptake. Metabolic heat production (Hprod) and the evaporative requirements for heat balance (Ereq) were also calculated. Whole-body sweat rate was determined from pre-post nude body mass corrected for fluid intake. While Hprod (HF: 3.9 ± 0.9; CON: 6.4 ± 1.5 W/kg) and Ereq (HF: 3.3 ± 0.9; CON: 5.6 ± 1.4 W/kg) were lower (P < 0.01) for HF compared to CON, both groups demonstrated a similar rise in Tc (HF: 0.9 ± 0.4; CON: 1.0 ± 0.3°C). Despite this similar rise in Tc, Tsk (HF: 1.6 ± 0.7; CON: 2.7 ± 1.2°C), and the elevation in CVC (HF: 1.4 ± 1.0; CON: 3.0 ± 1.2 au/mmHg) was lower (P < 0.05) in HF compared to CON Additionally, whole-body sweat rate (HF: 0.36 ± 0.15; CON: 0.81 ± 0.39 L/h) was lower (P = 0.02) in HF compared to CON Patients with HF appear to be limited in their ability to manage a thermal load and distribute heat content to the body surface (i.e., skin), secondary to impaired circulation to the periphery.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13022
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • blood flow
  • cardiovascular disease
  • heat production
  • vascular conductance


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