Impaired thermoregulation in Raynaud's phenomenon

Angiology. 1995 Jul;46(7):603-11. doi: 10.1177/000331979504600707.


In an attempt to examine the role of the thermoregulatory apparatus in the etiology of Raynaud's phenomenon (RP), the authors exposed 15 women with RP and 12 controls to central body cooling and central body warming. Subjects were placed in an environmental chamber at 25 degrees C. Their right hand was placed in an annex of the chamber, which was insulated from the main chamber and maintained at a constant temperature of 25 degrees C throughout the experiment. Blood flow was measured in the digits of the right hand by venous occlusion strain gauge plethysmography and skin thermometry. Body temperature was measured with an oral thermometer. The temperature of the chamber was then increased to 35 degrees C and then reduced to 13 degrees C for twenty-five minutes with measurements repeated. Following this period patients were rewarmed in an ambient temperature of 35 degrees C for twenty minutes.

Results: subjects with RP had significantly lower blood flow at all stages of the test; moreover, their digital rewarming response following central cooling was considerably prolonged when compared with controls. Body temperature was lower and dropped significantly more in the RP group following the cold challenge. The authors conclude that subjects with RP have an impaired thermoregulatory mechanism. This may partially explain cold sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Female
  • Fingers / blood supply
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Raynaud Disease / physiopathology*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Skin Temperature
  • Statistics, Nonparametric