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 


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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

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