Journal Article

Central Aortic Blood Pressure of Hypertensive Men During Short-Term Cold Exposure

Heidi Hintsala, Arno Kandelberg, Karl-Heinz Herzig, Hannu Rintamäki, Matti Mäntysaari, Aino Rantala, Riitta Antikainen, Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi, Jouni J. K. Jaakkola and Tiina M. Ikäheimo

in American Journal of Hypertension

Published on behalf of American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd.

Volume 27, issue 5, pages 656-664
Published in print May 2014 | ISSN: 0895-7061
Published online August 2013 | e-ISSN: 1941-7225 | DOI:
Central Aortic Blood Pressure of Hypertensive Men During Short-Term Cold Exposure

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  • Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Biological Sciences


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Short- and long-term exposures to cold increase blood pressure and may explain the higher wintertime cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Hypertensive subjects may be more susceptible to adverse cold-related cardiovascular health effects. The aim of our study was to assess the effect of short-term cold exposure on central aortic blood pressure among untreated hypertensive men.


We conducted a population-based recruitment of 41 hypertensive men and a control group of 20 men without hypertension (aged 55–65 years) who underwent whole-body cold exposure (15-minute exposure to temperature −10 °C, wind 3 m/s, winter clothes). Central aortic blood pressure, augmentation index, and subendocardial viability ratio were measured by radial artery applanation tonometry.


Short-term cold exposure increased the central aortic blood pressure similarly both in both hypertensive men, from 130/93 to 162/107mm Hg (P < 0.001) and men in the control group, from 114/81 to 142/91mmHg (P < 0.001). Augmentation index increased by 12% (from 10% to 22%, P < 0.001; and from 16% to 28%, P < 0.001, respectively), whereas subendocardial viability ratio decreased 10% (from 188% to 177%, P = 0.001; and from 203% to 193%, P = 0.01, respectively) during cold exposure in both hypertensive men and control subjects.


Short-term cold exposure increases central aortic blood pressure and cardiac workload, and myocardial oxygen demand slightly increases in relation to blood supply in untreated hypertensive middle-aged men. Because of the higher baseline blood pressure among hypertensive subjects, the cold-induced rise in central aortic blood pressure may increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular health effects.

Keywords: aorta; augmentation index; blood pressure; cold temperature; hypertension; subendocardial viability ratio.

Journal Article.  4640 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine ; Biological Sciences

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