Stimulus dimensions of the cold pressor test and the associated patterns of cardiovascular response

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70 Scopus citations


Hemodynamics of the cold pressor response in relation to its pain and nonpain stimulus components were investigated in normotensive college men using the foot and forehead cold pressor tasks. Mechanisms of pain- and non- pain related increases in blood pressure were analyzed as residual effects of concurrent changes in total peripheral resistance and cardiac output. The identified partial relationships suggested that the response pattern associated with pain included positive change both in cardiac output and in total peripheral resistance, whereas the nonpain-related response was limited to an increase in total peripheral resistance. Analyses of individual differences in cardiovascular responses to pain further indicated that pain- related increments in blood pressure were mediated by a steeper rise in total peripheral resistance, an increase in heart rate, and an apparent increase in preload. At baseline, high reactors to pain manifested relatively elevated total peripheral resistance, diminished cardiac output, and an indication of a reduced inotropic state, suggesting that altered basal homeostasis may discriminate normotensive individuals displaying heightened cardiovascular reactivity to aversive cold stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-290
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1994


  • Cardiac output
  • Cold pain
  • Foot cold pressor
  • Forehead cold pressor
  • Impedance cardiography
  • Peripheral resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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