Skip to main content

Effects of face cooling on pulse waveform and sympathetic activity in hypertensive subjects


Adverse cardiovascular events occur more frequently during cold weather. To test the hypothesis that cold exposure would lead to increased sympathetic activity and impaired hemodynamic control, we measured muscle sympathetic nerve activity and hemodynamic parameters in nine men with hypertension before and during trigeminal stimulation and facial cooling. The procedure increased blood pressure (p < 0.01), aortic hemodynamic parameters (p < 0.01), and muscle sympathetic nerve activity (p < 0.05). These results suggest that sympathetic activation during cold exposure in hypertensive subjects may increase the risk of cardiovascular events during cold weather.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Danet S, Richard F, Montaye M, Beauchant S, Lemaire B, Graux C, Cottel D, Marecaux N, Amouyel P (1999) Unhealthy effects of atmospheric temperature and pressure on the occurrence of myocardial infarction and coronary deaths. A 10-year survey: the Lille-World Health Organization MONICA project (Monitoring trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease). Circulation 100:E1–E7

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Epstein SE, Stampfer M, Beiser GD, Goldstein RE, Braunwald E (1969) Effects of a reduction in environmental temperature on the circulatory response to exercise in man. Implications concerning angina pectoris. New Engl J Med 280:7–11

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Butler PJ, Jones DR (1997) Physiology of diving of birds and mammals. Physiol Rev 77:837–899

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Casey DP, Curry TB, Joyner MJ, Charkoudian N, Hart EC (2011) Relationship between muscle sympathetic nerve activity and aortic wave reflection characteristics in young men and women. Hypertension 57:421–427

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Vlachopoulos C, Aznaouridis K, Stefanadis C (2010) Prediction of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality with arterial stiffness: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Coll Cardiol 55:1318–1327

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    O’Rourke MF, Adji A (2014) Noninvasive generation of aortic pressure from radial pressure waveform by applanation tonometry, brachial cuff calibration, and generalized transfer function. Am J Hypertens 27:143–145

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Edwards DG, Roy MS, Prasad RY (2008) Wave reflection augments central systolic and pulse pressures during facial cooling. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 294:H2535–H2539

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Mitchell GF (2004) Arterial stiffness and wave reflection in hypertension: pathophysiologic and therapeutic implications. Curr Hypertens Rep 6:436–441

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Wilkinson IB, MacCallum H, Hupperetz PC, van Thoor CJ, Cockcroft JR, Webb DJ (2001) Changes in the derived central pressure waveform and pulse pressure in response to angiotensin II and noradrenaline in man. J Physiol 530:541–550

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lauro C. Vianna.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Financial support

Funding for this work was provided by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq), and Fundação amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Prodel, E., Barbosa, T.C., Mansur, D.E. et al. Effects of face cooling on pulse waveform and sympathetic activity in hypertensive subjects. Clin Auton Res 27, 45–49 (2017).

Download citation


  • Blood pressure
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hypertension
  • Trigeminal nerve