Thermoregulatory Responses with Size-matched Simulated Torso or Limb Skin Grafts

Matthew N. Cramer, M. U. Huang, Mads Fischer, Gilbert Moralez, Craig G. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Skin grafting after a burn injury attenuates/abolishes sweat production within grafted areas. It is presently unknown whether the thermoregulatory consequences of skin grafting depend on anatomical location. Purpose This study aimed to test the hypothesis that a simulated burn injury on the torso will be no more or less detrimental to core temperature control than on the limbs during uncompensable exercise-heat stress. Methods Nine nonburned individuals (7 men, 2 women) completed the protocol. On separate occasions, burn injuries of identical surface area (0.45 ± 0.08 m2 or 24.4% ± 4.4% of total body surface area) were simulated on the torso or the arms/legs using an absorbent, vapor-impermeable material that impedes sweat evaporation in those regions. Participants performed 60 min of treadmill walking at 5.3 km·h-1 and a 4.1% ± 0.8% grade, targeting 6 W·kg-1 of metabolic heat production in 40.1°C ± 0.2°C and 19.6% ± 0.6% relative humidity conditions. Rectal temperature, heart rate, and perceptual responses were measured. Results Rectal temperature increased to a similar extent with simulated injuries on the torso and limbs (condition-by-time interaction, P = 0.86), with a final rectal temperature 0.9°C ± 0.3°C above baseline in both conditions. No differences in heart rate, perceived exertion, or thermal sensation were observed between conditions (condition-by-time interactions, P ≥ 0.50). Conclusions During uncompensable exercise-heat stress, sized-matched simulated burn injuries on the torso or limbs evoke comparable core temperature, heart rate, and perceptual responses, suggesting that the risk of exertional heat illness in such environmental conditions is independent of injury location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2190-2195
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021



ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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