, Volume 113, Issue 5, pp 1257-1269

Effect of whole-body mild-cold exposure on arterial stiffness and central haemodynamics: a randomised, cross-over trial in healthy men and women

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Abstract

Aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) and augmentation index (AIx) are independent predictors of cardiovascular risk and mortality, but little is known about the effect of air temperature changes on these variables. Our study investigated the effect of exposure to whole-body mild-cold on measures of arterial stiffness (aortic and brachial PWV), and on central haemodynamics [including augmented pressure (AP), AIx], and aortic reservoir components [including reservoir and excess pressures (P ex)]. Sixteen healthy volunteers (10 men, age 43 ± 19 years; mean ± SD) were randomised to be studied under conditions of 12 °C (mild-cold) and 21 °C (control) on separate days. Supine resting measures were taken at baseline (ambient temperature) and after 10, 30, and 60 min exposure to each experimental condition in a climate chamber. There was no significant change in brachial blood pressure between mild-cold and control conditions. However, compared to control, AP [+2 mmHg, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.36–4.36; p = 0.01] and AIx (+6 %, 95 % CI 1.24–10.1; p = 0.02) increased, and time to maximum P ex (a component of reservoir function related to timing of peak aortic in-flow) decreased (−7 ms, 95 % CI −15.4 to 2.03; p = 0.01) compared to control. Yet there was no significant change in aortic PWV (+0.04 m/s, 95 % CI −0.47 to 0.55; p = 0.87) or brachial PWV (+0.36 m/s; −0.41 to 1.12; p = 0.35) between conditions. We conclude that mild-cold exposure increases central haemodynamic stress and alters timing of peak aortic in-flow without differentially affecting arterial stiffness.

Communicated by Narihiko Kondo.