Effect of heat stress on cardiac output and systemic vascular conductance during simulated hemorrhage to presyncope in young men

Matthew S. Ganio, Morten Overgaard, Thomas Seifert, Niels H. Secher, Pär I. Johansson, Martin A S Meyer, Craig G. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


During moderate actual or simulated hemorrhage, as cardiac output decreases, reductions in systemic vascular conductance (SVC) maintain mean arterial pressure (MAP). Heat stress, however, compromises the control of MAP during simulated hemorrhage, and it remains unknown whether this response is due to a persistently high SVC and/or a low cardiac output. This study tested the hypothesis that an inadequate decrease in SVC is the primary contributing mechanism by which heat stress compromises blood pressure control during simulated hemorrhage. Simulated hemorrhage was imposed via lower body negative pressure (LBNP) to presyncope in 11 passively heat-stressed subjects (increase core temperature: 1.2 ± 0.2°C; means ± SD). Cardiac output was measured via thermodilution, and SVC was calculated while subjects were normothermic, heat stressed, and throughout subsequent LBNP. MAP was not changed by heat stress but was reduced to 45 ± 12 mmHg at the termination of LBNP. Heat stress increased cardiac output from 7.1 ± 1.1 to 11.7 ± 2.2 l/min (P < 0.001) and increased SVC from 0.094 ± 0.018 to 0.163 ± 0.032 l·min -1·mmHg -1 (P < 0.001). Although cardiac output at the onset of syncopal symptoms was 37 ± 16% lower relative to pre-LBNP, presyncope cardiac output (7.3 ± 2.0 l/min) was not different than normothermic values (P = 0.46). SVC did not change throughout LBNP (P < 0.05) and at presyncope was 0.168 ± 0.044 l·min -1·mmHg -1. These data indicate that in humans a cardiac output adequate to maintain MAP while normothermic is no longer adequate during a heat-stressed-simulated hemorrhage. The absence of a decrease in SVC at a time of profound reductions in MAP suggests that inadequate control of vascular conductance is a primary mechanism compromising blood pressure control during these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1756-H1761
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2012


  • Blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Lower body negative pressure
  • Vascular resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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