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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Jan-Feb;78(1):33-8.

Cerebral autoregulation during whole-body hypothermia and hyperthermia stimulus.

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  • 1Department Clinic for Studies/Rehabilitation, Medical University Hannover, Germany.


The purpose of the study contained herein was to investigate the effects of old traditional physiotherapeutic treatments on cerebral autoregulation. Treatment consisted of complete body immersion in cold or warm water baths. Fifteen volunteers were investigated by means of transcranial Doppler sonography and a servo-controlled noninvasive device for blood pressure measuring. One group of 8 volunteers (mean age, 27.2+/-3.5 yr; gender, 3 females/5 males) was subjected to cold baths of 22 degrees C for 20 min Another group of 7 volunteers (mean age, 52.1+/-8.5 yr; gender, 4 females/3 males) took hyperthermic baths at rising water temperatures from 36 degrees to 42 degrees C, increased by 1 degree C every 5 min. Each volunteer in both groups underwent autoregulation tests two to four times before, during, and after the thermic bath. Dynamic autoregulation was measured by the response of cerebral blood flow velocity to a transient decrease of the mean arterial blood pressure, induced by rapid deflation of thigh cuffs. The autoregulation index, i.e., a measure of the speed of change of cerebral autoregulation, was used to quantify the response. Further parameters were core temperature, blood pressure (mm Hg) and CO2et. During hypothermic baths, core temperature decreased by 0.3 degrees C (P = 0.001), measured between preliminary phase and the end of the bath; the autoregulation index decreased significantly (P < 0.05) from 5.3 before the bath to 4.25 during the bath. During hyperthermic baths, the autoregulation index increased from 6.0 to 7.5 and 8.9 (P < 0.001), with an increase of core temperature of 0.4 degrees C. The main cerebral autoregulation system is dependent on changes of core temperature, provoked by hypothermic or hyperthermic whole-body thermostimulus. Application of hyperthermic baths increased the autoregulation index, and hypothermic baths decreased the autoregulation index. Further studies are needed to prove the positive effects of thermo-stimulating water applications on cerebral hemodynamics in patients with cerebral diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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