Human studies concerning thermal-induced shivering, postoperative "shivering," and cold-induced vasodilation

Ann Emerg Med. 1987 Sep;16(9):1037-41. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(87)80756-4.


Human reaction to cold stress and hypothermia involves shivering. Another form of overt shaking, postoperative shivering, has been attributed as a thermoregulatory response to postoperative hypothermia. Analysis of the normal human shivering pattern showed a synchronized, slow amplitude modulation (six to eight cycles/min) over all muscles sampled. In addition, there was a frequency of 8 to 10 Hz associated with each low-frequency amplitude modulation. EMG signals from postoperative patients revealed none of the major patterns seen in thermal-induced shivering. Cold-induced vasodilation also was studied and found to occur simultaneously in all cold-stressed fingers regardless of size or innervation. Thermal shivering and cold-induced vasodilation are considered to be manifestations of central neural oscillators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period
  • Body Temperature
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Shivering*
  • Temperature
  • Vasodilation*