Cardiac Repolarization and Autonomic Regulation during Short-Term Cold Exposure in Hypertensive Men: An Experimental Study



The aim of our study was to assess the effect of short-term cold exposure, typical in subarctic climate, on cardiac electrical function among untreated middle-aged hypertensive men.


We conducted a population-based recruitment of 51 hypertensive men and a control group of 32 men without hypertension (age 55–65 years) who underwent whole-body cold exposure (15 min exposure to temperature −10°C, wind 3 m/s, winter clothes). Conduction times and amplitudes, vectorcardiography, arrhythmias, and heart rate variability (autonomic nervous function) were assessed.


Short-term cold exposure increased T-peak to T-end interval from 67 to 72 ms (p<0.001) and 71 to 75 ms (p<0.001) and T-wave amplitude from 0.12 to 0.14 mV (p<0.001) and from 0.17 to 0.21 mV (p<0.001), while QTc interval was shortened from 408 to 398 ms (p<0.001) and from 410 to 401 ms (p<0.001) among hypertensive men and controls, respectively. Cold exposure increased both low (from 390 to 630 ms2 (p<0.001) and 380 to 700 ms2 (p<0.001), respectively) and high frequency heart rate variability (from 90 to 190 ms2 (p<0.001) and 150 to 300 ms2(p<0.001), respectively), while low-to-high frequency-ratio was reduced. In addition, the frequency of ventricular ectopic beats increased slightly during cold exposure. The cold induced changes were similar between untreated hypertensive men and controls.


Short-term cold exposure with moderate facial and mild whole body cooling resulted in prolongation of T-peak to T-end interval and higher T-wave amplitude while QTc interval was shortened. These changes of ventricular repolarization may have resulted from altered cardiac autonomic regulation and were unaffected by untreated hypertension.

Trial Registration NCT02007031


Autor / Fonte:Hintsala H, Kenttä TV, Tulppo M, Kiviniemi A, Huikuri HV, et al. (2014) . PLoS ONE 9(7): e99973. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099973