Interaction of Exercise Intensity and Simulated Burn Injury Size on Thermoregulation

Luke N. Belval, Matthew N. Cramer, Gilbert Moralez, M. U. Huang, Frank A. Cimino, Joseph C. Watso, Craig G. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The U.S. Department of Defense's Medical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction into the Military Services excludes personnel with burn injuries covering 18% or more of their body surface area (BSA). However, this requirement does not consider the metabolic heat loads associated with physical activities of different intensities that may influence a burn survivor's ability to perform his/her duties. Purpose This study aimed to test the hypothesis that the elevation in internal body temperature during exercise in a hot environment is influenced by the combination of exercise intensity and BSA burned. Methods Ten healthy participants (8 males, 2 females; 32 ± 9 yr; 75.3 ± 11.7 kg) completed eight exercise trials on a cycle ergometer, each with different combinations of metabolic heat productions (low, 4 W·kg-1; moderate, 6 W·kg-1) and simulated BSA burn in a hot environmental chamber (39.9°C ± 0.3°C, 20.1% ± 1.5% RH). Burns were simulated by covering 0%, 20%, 40%, or 60% of participants' BSA with a highly absorbent, vapor-impermeable material. Gastrointestinal temperature (TGI) was recorded, with the primary analysis being the increase in TGI after 60 min of exercise. Results We identified an interaction effect for the increase in TGI (P < 0.01), suggesting TGI was influenced by both intensity and simulated burn BSA. Regardless of the percentage BSA burn simulated, the increase in TGI was similar across low-intensity trials (0.70°C ± 0.26°C, P > 0.11 for all). However, during moderate-intensity exercise, the increase in TGI was greater for the 60% (1.78°C ± 0.38°C, P < 0.01) and 40% BSA coverage trials (1.33°C ± 0.44°C, P = 0.04), relative to 0% (0.82°C ± 0.36°C). There were no differences in TGI responses between 0% and 20% trials. Conclusion These data suggest that exercise intensity influences the relationship between burn injury size and thermoregulatory responses in a hot environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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