Cardiovascular and thermal strain during 3–4 days of a metabolically demanding cold‑weather military operation

Castellani, John W.
Spitz, Marissa G
Karis, Anthony J.
Martini, Svein
Young, Andrew J
Margolis, Lee M
Karl, J Philip
Murphy, Nancy E
Xu, Xiaojiang
Montain, Scott J
Bohn, Jamie A
Teien, Hilde Kristin
Stenberg, Pål H.
Gundersen, Yngvar
Pasiakos, Stefan M
Castellani, John W.; Spitz, Marissa G; Karis, Anthony J.; Martini, Svein; Young, Andrew J; Margolis, Lee M; Karl, J Philip; Murphy, Nancy E; Xu, Xiaojiang; Montain, Scott J; Bohn, Jamie A; Teien, Hilde Kristin; Stenberg, Pål H.; Gundersen, Yngvar; Pasiakos, Stefan M. Cardiovascular and thermal strain during 3–4 days of a metabolically demanding cold‑weather military operation. Extreme Physiology and Medicine 2017 ;Volum 6.(2)
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Background Cardiovascular (CV) and thermal responses to metabolically demanding multi-day military operations in extreme cold-weather environments are not well described. Characterization of these operations will provide greater insights into possible performance capabilities and cold injury risk. Methods Soldiers from two cold-weather field training exercises (FTX) were studied during 3-day (study 1, n = 18, age: 20 ± 1 year, height: 182 ± 7 cm, mass: 82 ± 9 kg) and 4-day (study 2, n = 10, age: 20 ± 1 year, height: 182 ± 6 cm, mass: 80.7 ± 8.3 kg) ski marches in the Arctic. Ambient temperature ranged from −18 to −4 °C during both studies. Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE, from doubly labeled water), heart rate (HR), deep body (T pill), and torso (T torso) skin temperature (obtained in studies 1 and 2) as well as finger (T fing), toe (T toe), wrist, and calf temperatures (study 2) were measured. Results TDEE was 6821 ± 578 kcal day−1 and 6394 ± 544 for study 1 and study 2, respectively. Mean HR ranged from 120 to 140 bpm and mean T pill ranged between 37.5 and 38.0 °C during skiing in both studies. At rest, mean T pill ranged from 36.0 to 36.5 °C, (lowest value recorded was 35.5 °C). Mean T fing ranged from 32 to 35 °C during exercise and dropped to 15 °C during rest, with some T fing values as low as 6–10 °C. Ttoe was above 30 °C during skiing but dropped to 15–20 °C during rest. Conclusions Daily energy expenditures were among the highest observed for a military training exercise, with moderate exercise intensity levels (~65% age-predicted maximal HR) observed. The short-term cold-weather training did not elicit high CV and T pill strain. T fing and T toe were also well maintained while skiing, but decreased to values associated with thermal discomfort at rest.
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