Thermoregulatory Influence of a Cooling Vest on Hyperthermic Athletes
Athletic trainers must have sound evidence for the best practices in treating and preventing heat-related emergencies and potentially catastrophic events.
To examine the effectiveness of a superficial cooling vest on core body temperature (Tc) and skin temperature (Tsk) in hypohydrated hyperthermic male participants.
A randomized control design with 2 experimental groups.
Participants exercised by completing the heat-stress trial in a hot, humid environment (ambient temperature = 33.1 ± 3.1°C, relative humidity = 55.1 ± 8.9%, wind speed = 2.1 ± 1.1 km/hr) until a Tc of 38.7 ± 0.3°C and a body mass loss of 3.27 ± 0.1% were achieved.
Patients or Other Participants:
Ten healthy males (age = 25.6 ± 1.6 years, mass = 80.3 ± 13.7 kg).
Recovery in a thermoneutral environment wearing a cooling vest or without wearing a cooling vest until Tc returned to baseline.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Rectal Tc, arm Tsk, time to return to baseline Tc, and cooling rate.
During the heat-stress trial, Tc significantly increased (3.6%) and, at 30 minutes of recovery, Tc had decreased significantly (2.6%) for both groups. Although not significant, the time for return to baseline Tc was 22.6% faster for the vest group (43.8 ± 15.1 minutes) than for the no-vest group (56.6 ± 18.0 minutes), and the cooling rate for the vest group (0.0298 ± 0.0072°C/min) was not significantly different from the cooling rate for the no-vest group (0.0280 ± 0.0074°C/min). The Tsk during recovery was significantly higher (2.1%) in the vest group than in the no-vest group and was significantly lower (7.1%) at 30 minutes than at 0 minutes for both groups.
We do not recommend using the cooling vest to rapidly reduce elevated Tc. Ice-water immersion should remain the standard of care for rapidly cooling severely hyperthermic individuals.
Lopez, Rebecca M., et al. "Thermoregulatory influence of a cooling vest on hyperthermic athletes." Journal of athletic training 43.1 (2008): 55-61. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-43.1.55
National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.