The Cardiovascular System and Heat Transfer

  • Loring B. Rowell
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 62)


Humans alter the rate of heat transfer from deep tissues to the body surface by actively adjusting the vasomotor state of internal organs where heat is produced and of the blood vessels of the skin where heat is lost to the environment. In cold environments heat loss is minimized by constriction of cutaneous arterioles and veins. The redistribution of blood flow and blood volume from superficial to deep vessels increases thermal insulation. When heat losses must be increased, the opposite responses are elicited. Then the cardiovascular system must provide for large increments in skin blood flow and also a substantial volume of blood must be mobilized to the cutaneous veins from the central vasculature. Thermal balance is modified further by shivering or sweating. This paper focuses on adjustments of the systemic and regional circulations that alter heat transfer during heat stress. Control of sweating is not discussed.


Heat Stress Total Peripheral Resistance Skin Blood Flow Forearm Blood Flow American Physiological Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ABRAMSON, D.I. (1967): “Circulation in the Extremities”, chapt. 11, pp. 229–259, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. AMBERSON, W.R. (1943): Physiologic adjustments to the standing posture. Bull. Maryland Univ. School Med. 27: 127–145.Google Scholar
  3. BEISER, G.D., ZELIS, R., EPSTEIN, S.E., MASON, D.T., and BRAUNWALD, E. (1970): The role of skin and muscle resistance vessels in reflexes mediated by the baroreceptor system. J. Clin. Invest. 49: 255–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BERLYNE, G.M., FINBER, J.P.M., and YORAN, C. (1974): The effect of B-adrenergic blockade on body temperature and plasma renin activity in heat-exposed man. Brit. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 1: 307–312.Google Scholar
  5. BEVEGARD, B.S., and SHEPHERD, J.T. (1966): Reaction in man of resistance and capacity vessels in forearm and hand to leg exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 21: 123–132.Google Scholar
  6. BEVEGARD, S., CASTENFORS, J., LINDBLAD, L.E, and TRANESJO, J. (1977): Blood pressure and heart rate regulating capacity of the carotid sinus during changes in blood volume distribution in man. Acta Physiol. Scand. 99: 300–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. BLAIR, D.A, GLOVER, W.E, and RODDIE, I.C. (1961): Vasomotor responses in the human arm during leg exercise. Circulation Res. 9: 264–274.Google Scholar
  8. BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1977): Control of sweating rate and skin blood flow during exercise, in “Problems with Temperature Regulation During Exercise”, E.R. Nadel (Ed.), pp. 27–48, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1983): Circulatory adjustments to exercise and heat stress. Annu. Rev. Physiol. 44, in press.Google Scholar
  10. BRENGELMANN, G.L., FREUND, P.R., ROWELL, L.B., OLERUD, J.E., and KRANING, K.K. (1981): Absence of active cutaneous vasodilation associated with congenital absence of sweat glands in man. Am. J. Physiol. 240: H571–H575.Google Scholar
  11. BRENGELMANN, G.L., JOHNSON, J.M., HERMANSEN, L., and ROWELL, L.B. (1977): Altered control of skin blood flow during exercise at high internal temperature. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirât. Environ. Exercise Physiol. 43: 790–794.Google Scholar
  12. BROWN, A.C., and BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1970): The interaction of peripheral and central inputs in the temperature regulation system, In “Physiological and Behavioural Temperature Regulation”, J.D. Hardy, A.P. Gagge, and J.A.J. Stolwijk (Eds.). chapt. 47, pp. 648–702, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL.Google Scholar
  13. CHRISTENSEN, N.J. (1979): Plasma noradrenaline and adrenaline measured by isotope-derivative assay. Danis Med. Bull. 26: 17–56.Google Scholar
  14. CLAUSEN, J.P. (1977): Effect of physical training on cardiovascular adjustments to exercise in man. Physiol. Rev. 57: 779–815.Google Scholar
  15. CONRADT, M., KULLMAN, R., MATSUZAKI, T., and SIMON, E. (1975): Arterial baroreceptor function in differential cardiovascular adjustments induced by central thermal stimulation. Basic Res. Cardiol. 70: 10–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. CROSSLEY, R.J., GREENFIELD, A.D.M., PLASSARAS, G.C., and STEPHENS, D. (1966): The interrelation of thermoregulatory and baroreceptor reflexes in the control of blood vessels in the human forearm. J. Physiol. London 183: 628–636.Google Scholar
  17. DETRY, J.M.R., BRENGELMANN, G.L., ROWELL, L.B. and WYSS, C. (1972): Skin and muscle components of forearm blood flow in directly heated resting man. J. Appl. Physiol. 32: 506–511.Google Scholar
  18. DOBA, N. and REIS, D.J. (1974). Role of the cerebellum and the vestibular appartus in regulation of orthostatic reflexes in the cat. Circulation Res. 34: 9–18.Google Scholar
  19. EDHOLM, O.G., FOX, R.H., and MACPHERSON, R.K. (1957): Vasomotor control of the cutaneous blood vessels in the human forearm. J. Physiol. London 139: 455–465.Google Scholar
  20. EISMAN, M.M., and ROWELL, L.B. (1977): Renal vascular response to heat stress in baboons — role of renin-angiotensin. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirat. Environ. Exercise Physiol. 43: 739–746.Google Scholar
  21. ESCOURROU, P., FREUND, P.R., ROWELL, L.B., and JOHNSON, D.G. (1982): Splanchnic vasoconstriction in heat-stressed man — role of the renin-angiotensin system. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirat. Environ. Exercise Physiol., in press.Google Scholar
  22. FOX, R.J., and EDHOLM, O.G. (1963): Nervous control of the cutaneous circulation. Brit. Med. Bull. 19: 110–114.Google Scholar
  23. FREUND, P.R, BRENGELMANN, G.L., HALAR, E., and ROWELL, L.B. (1982): Elevated threshold and reduced slope of skin blood flow response in hyperthermic paraplegic man. Fed. Proc. 41: 4130.Google Scholar
  24. GREENFIELD, A.D.M. (1963): The circulation through the skin. In “Handbook of Physiology. Circulation”, W.F. Hamilton and P. Dow (Eds.), sect. 2., vol. II, chapt. 39, pp. 1325–1351. American Physiological Society, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  25. HALES, J.R.S. (1974): Physiological responses to heat, In “MTP International Review of Science, Physiology”, D. Robertshaw (Ed.), ser. 1, vol. 7, pp. 107–162, Butterworth, London.Google Scholar
  26. HALES, J.R.S., ROWELL, L.B., and KING, R.B. (1979): Regional distribution of blood flow in awake heat-stressed baboons. Am. J. Physiol. 237: H705–H712.Google Scholar
  27. HAYWARD, J.N., and BAKER, M.A. (1969): A comparative study of the role of the cerebral arterial blood in the regulation of brain temperature in five mammals. Brain Res. 16: 417–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. HEISTAD, D.D, and ABBOUD, F.M. (1974): Factors that influence blood flow in skeletal muscle and skin. Anesthesiology 41: 139–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. HENRY, J.P. (1951): The significance of the loss of blood volume into the limbs during pressure breating. Aviat. Med. 22: 31–38.Google Scholar
  30. HENRY, J.P. and GAUER, O.H. (1950): The influence of temperature upon venous pressure in the foot. J. Clin. Invest. 29: 855–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. JESSEN, C., and MAYER, E. Th, (1971): Spinal cord and hypothalamus as core sensors of temperature in the conscious dog. Pflugers Arch. 324: 189–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. JESSEN, C., and SIMON, E. (1971): Spinal cord and hypothalamus as core sensors of temperature in the conscious dog. III. Identity of functions. Pflugers Arch. 324: 217–226, 1971.Google Scholar
  33. JOHNSON, J.M. (1979): Responses of forearm blood flow to graded leg exercise in man. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirat. Environ. Exercise Physiol. 46: 457–462.Google Scholar
  34. JOHNSON, J.M., BRENGELMANN, G.L., and ROWELL, L.B. (1976): Interactions between local and reflex influences on human forearm skin blood flow. J. Appl. Physiol. 41: 826–831.Google Scholar
  35. JOHNSON, J.M., NIEDERBERGER, M., ROWELL, L.B., EISMAN, M.M., and BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1973): Competition between cutaneous vasodilator and vasoconstrictor reflexes in man. J. Appl. Physiol. 35: 798–803.Google Scholar
  36. JOHNSON, J.M., ROWELL, L.B., and BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1974a): Modification of the skin blood flow-body temperature relationship by upright exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 37: 880–886.Google Scholar
  37. JOHNSON, J.M., ROWELL, L.B., NIEDERBERGER, M., and EISMAN, M.M. (1974b): Human splanchnic and forearm vasoconstrictor responses to reduction of right atrial and aortic pressure. Circulation Res. 34: 515–524.Google Scholar
  38. KIM, Y.D., LAKE, C.D., LEES, D.E., SCHUETTE, W.H., BULE, J.M., WEISE, V., and KOPIN, I.H. (1979): Hemodynamic and plasma catecholamine responses to hyperthermic cancer therapy in humans. Am. J. Phyisol. 237: H570–H574.Google Scholar
  39. KROGH, A. (1912): The regulation of the supply of blood to the right heart. Scand. Arch. Physiol. 27: 227–248.Google Scholar
  40. LEVY, B., GHAEM, A., VERPILLAT, J.M., and MARTINEAUD, J.P. (1975): Antagonistic effects upon cutaneous circulation of muscular exercise and exposure to a high ambient temperature. Pflugers Arch. 359: 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. MILVY, P. (Ed.) (1977): “The Marathon: Physiological, Medical, Epidemiological, and Psychological Studies”, The New York Academy of Sciences, New York.Google Scholar
  42. MOSLEY, J.G. (1969): A reduction in some vasodilator responses in freestanding man. Cardiovascular Res. 3: 14–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. NADEL, E.R., CAFARELLI, E., ROBERTS, M.F., and WENGER, C.B. (1979): Circulatory regulation during exercise in different ambient temperatures. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirât. Environ. Exercise Physiol. 46: 430–437.Google Scholar
  44. NADEL, E.R., FORTNEY, S.M., and WENGER, C.B. (1980): Effect of hydration state on circulatory and thermal regulations. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirât. Environ. Exercise Physiol. 49: 715–721.Google Scholar
  45. NIELSEN, M., HERRINGTON, L.P., and WINSLOW, C.E.A. (1939): The effect of posture on peripheral circulation. Am. J. Physiol. 127: 573–580.Google Scholar
  46. PROPPE, D.W., BRENGELMANN, G.L. and ROWELL, L.B. (1976): Control of baboon limb blood flow and heart rate: role of skin vs. core temperature. Am. J. Physiol. 231: 1457–1465.Google Scholar
  47. RADIGAN, L.R., and ROBINSON, S. (1949): Effects of environmental heat stress and exercise on renal blood flow and filtration rate. J. Appl. Physiol. 2: 185–191.Google Scholar
  48. RODDIE, I.C., and SHEPHERD, J.T. (1957): The effects of carotid artery compression in man with special reference to changes in vascular resistance in the limbs. J. Physiol. London 139: 377–384.Google Scholar
  49. RODDIE, I.C., SHEPHERD, J.T., and WHELAN, R.F. (1958): Reflex changes in human skeletal muscle blood flow associated with intrathoracic pressure changes. Circulation Res. 6: 232–238.Google Scholar
  50. ROWELL, L.B. (1974): Human cardiovascular adjustments to exercise and thermal stress. Physiol. Rev. 54: 75–159.Google Scholar
  51. ROWELL, L.B. (1977): Reflex control of the cutaneous vasculature. J. Invest. Dermatol. 69: 154–166, 1977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. ROWELL, L.B. (1981): Active neurogenic vasodilation in man. In “Vasodilation”, P.M. Vanhoutte and I. Leusen (Eds.), pp. 1–17, Raven Press, New York.Google Scholar
  53. ROWELL, L.B. (1982): Cardiovascular adjustments to thermal stress, in “Handbook of Physiology. Peripheral Circulation and Organ Blood Flow,” J.T. Shepherd and F.M. Abboud (Eds.), American Physiological Society, Bethesda, MD, in press.Google Scholar
  54. ROWELL, L.B., BLACKMAN, J.R., MARTIN, R.H., MAZZARELLA, J.A., and BRUCE, R.A. (1965): Hepatic clearance of indocyanine green in man under thermal and exercise stresses. J. Appl. Physiol. 20: 384–394.Google Scholar
  55. ROWELL, L.B., BRENGELMANN, G.L., BLACKMON, J.R., TWISS, R.D., and KUSUMI, F. (1968): Splanchnic blood flow and metabolism in heat stressed man. J. Appl. Physiol. 24: 475–484.Google Scholar
  56. ROWELL, L.B., BRENGELMANN, G.L., DETRY, J.M.R., and WYSS, C. (1971a): Venomotor responses to rapid changes in skin temperature in exercising man. J. Appl. Physiol. 30: 64–71.Google Scholar
  57. ROWELL, L.B., BRENGELMANN, G.L., DETRY, J.M.R., and WYSS, C. (1971b): Venomotor responses to local and remote thermal stimuli to skin in exercising man. J. Appl. Physiol. 30: 72–77.Google Scholar
  58. ROWELL, L.B., DETRY, J.M.R., PROFANT, G.R, and WYSS, C. (1971c): Splanchnic vasoconstriction in hyperthermic man — role of falling blood pressure. J. Appl. Physiol. 31: 864–869.Google Scholar
  59. ROWELL, L.B., FREUND, P.R., and BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1982): Cutaneous vascular response to exercise and acute hypoxia. J. Appl. Physiol.: Respirat. Environ. Exercise Physiol., in press.Google Scholar
  60. ROWELL, L.B., MARX, H.J., BRUCE, R.A., CONN, R.D, and KUSMUI, F., (1966): Reductions in cardiac output, central blood volume, and stroke volume with thermal stress in normal men during exercise. J. Clin. Invest. 45: 1801–1816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. ROWELL, L.B., MURRAY, J.A., BRENGELMANN, G.L., and KRANING, K.K., II. (1969): Human cardiovascular adjustments to rapid changes in skin temperature in exercising man. Circulation Res. 24: 711–724.Google Scholar
  62. ROWELL, L.B., WYSS, C.R., and BRENGELMANN, G.L. (1973): Sustained human skin and muscle vasoconstriction with reduced baroreceptor activity. J. Appl. Physiol. 34: 639–643, 1973.Google Scholar
  63. SHEPHERD, J.T. (1963). “Physiology of the Circulation in Human Limbs in Health and Disease”, Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  64. SHEPHERD, J.T., and VANHOUTTE, P.M. (1975): “Veins and Their Control”, Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  65. SIMON, E., and RIEDEL, W. (1975): Diversity of regional sympathetic outflow in integrative cardiovascular control: patterns and mechanisms. Brain Res. 87: 323–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. TAM, H.S., DARLING, R.C., CHEH, H.Y., and DOWNEY, J.A. (1978): The dead zone of thermoregulation in normal and paraplegic man. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 56: 976–983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. TYDEN, G. (1977): Aspects of cardiovascular reflex control in man. Acta Physiol. Scand., Suppl. 448: 1–62.Google Scholar
  68. VANHOUTTE, P.M. (1980): Physical factors of regulation, in “Handbook of Physiology. The Cardiovascular System. Vascular Smooth Muscle”, D.F. Bohr, A.P. Somlyo, and H.V. Sparks, Jr. (Eds.), sect. 2., vol. II, chapt. 16, pp. 443–474, American Physiological Society, Bethesda, MD.Google Scholar
  69. WENGER, C.B., ROBERTS, M.F., STOLWIJK, J.A.J., and NADEL, E.R. (1975): Forearm blood flow during body temperature transients produced by leg exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 38: 58–63.Google Scholar
  70. WENNERGREN, G. (1975): Aspects of central integrative and efferent mechanisms in cardiovascular reflex control. Acta Physiol. Scand., Suppl. 428: 5–53, 1975.Google Scholar
  71. WYSS, C.R., BRENGELMANN, G.L., JOHNSON, J.M., ROWELL, L.B., and NIEDERBERGER, M. (1974): Control of skin blood flow, sweating and heart rate: role of skin vs. core temperature. J. Appl. Physiol. 36: 726–733.Google Scholar
  72. WYSS, C.R., BRENGELMANN, G.L., JOHNSON, J.M., ROWELL, L.B., and SILVERSTEIN, D. (1975): Altered control of skin blood flow at high skin and core temperatures. J. Appl. Physiol. 38: 839–845.Google Scholar
  73. ZITNIK, R.S., AMBROSIONI, E., and SHEPHERD, J.T. (1971): Effect of temperature on cutaneous venomotor reflexes in man. J. Appl. Physiol. 31: 507–512.Google Scholar
  74. ZOLLER, R.P., MARK, A.L., ABBOUD, F.M., SCHMID, P.G., and HEISTAD, D.D. (1972): The role of low pressure baroreceptors in reflex vasoconstrictor responses in man. J. Clin. Invest. 51: 2967–2972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loring B. Rowell
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Physiology and Biophysics and of MedicineUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattle, WashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations