Thermoregulatory, metabolic, and cardiovascular responses during 88 min of full-body ice immersion - A case study.

Research paper by Coen C W G CCWG Bongers, Thijs M H TMH Eijsvogels, Dick H J DHJ Thijssen, Maria T E MTE Hopman

Indexed on: 30 Dec '19Published on: 29 Dec '19Published in: Physiological Reports


Exposure to extreme cold environments is potentially life-threatening. However, the world record holder of full-body ice immersion has repeatedly demonstrated an extraordinary tolerance to extreme cold. We aimed to explore thermoregulatory, metabolic, and cardiovascular responses during 88 min of full-body ice immersion. We continuously measured gastrointestinal temperature (T ), skin temperature (Tskin), blood pressure, and heart rate (HR). Oxygen consumption (VO ) was measured at rest, and after 45 and 88 min of ice immersion, in order to calculate the metabolic heat production. Tskin dropped significantly (28-34°C to 4-15°C) and VO doubled (5.7-11.3 ml kg  min ), whereas Tgi (37.6°C), HR (72 bpm), and mean arterial pressure (106 mmHg) remained stable during the first 30 min of cold exposure. During the remaining of the trial, Tskin and VO remained stable, while Tgi gradually declined to 37.0°C and HR and mean arterial blood pressure increased to maximum values of 101 bpm and 115 mmHg, respectively. Metabolic heat production in rest was 169 W and increased to 321 W and 314 W after 45 and 80 min of ice immersion. Eighty-eight minutes of full-body ice immersion resulted in minor changes of Tgi and cardiovascular responses, while Tskin and VO changed markedly. These findings may suggest that our participant can optimize his thermoregulatory, metabolic, and cardiovascular responses to challenge extreme cold exposure. © 2019 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society.