Relation between finger cold-induced vasodilation and rewarming speed after cold exposure

C. F. Kingma, I. I. Hofman, H. A.M. Daanen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The risk for local cold injuries has been linked to poor cold-induced vasodilation (CIVD) during cold exposure and to poor rewarming after cold exposure. The purpose of this study is to establish the relation between CIVD and rewarming speed. Methods: Twelve participants immersed one hand in ice water for 30 min to evoke CIVD and the other hand in ice water for 10 min to investigate the rewarming profile. The ring, middle and index fingertip temperatures were monitored during hand immersion and the resistance index of frostbite (RIF) was calculated. RIF depends on minimal (Tmin) and mean (Tmean) finger skin temperature and onset time. Rewarming was quantified using an infrared imaging system and the rewarming speed over 19 min was determined. Results: Tmin (5.8 ± 3.0 °C) and Tmean (10.4 ± 3.0 °C) caused non-distinctive contributions to the total RIF-scores so that onset time (12.7 ± 3.1 min) became the dominant factor. A significant negative correlation between RIF and rewarming speed was found (rs = − 0.60, p = 0.041). Conclusions: The negative relation between RIF and rewarming speed may be explained by the common observation that onset time relates to the temperature of fingertip tissue, while Tmin, Tmean and rewarming speed relates to body thermal status. The rewarming test is to be preferred over the CIVD test in terms of ease of use, but the predictive value of the rewarming test for cold injuries is limited, cannot replace the RIF since onset time of finger vasodilation is not included and should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019


  • CIVD
  • Cold injury risk
  • Finger cold water immersion
  • Resistance index of frostbite


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