The effects of continuous cold exposure (2 wk. at 60°F) and starvation on foot volume and capillary fragility were studied in six men. The experimental period was preceded and followed by 2-week periods (control and recovery) at 80°F and a caloric intake of 2400 cal. Foot volumes decreased 6.1% in the first 5 hours of cold exposure and remained constant for the remainder of the experimental period. Foot volume was also measured after 3 minutes of elevation of the foot and occlusion of the blood supply. This volume decreased less during the experimental than the preceding or following periods. Capillary fragility decreased slowly during the experimental period and increased in the recovery period. On the third day of recovery, foot volumes were larger than at any other time. For the remainder of recovery, foot volume was the same as the control volume, but there was a greater decrease in volume with foot elevation. The results suggest that there was a constriction of all types of blood vessels during the experimental period while in the recovery period there was apparently a simultaneous dilatation of large blood vessels and a constriction of small ones. One subject had a greatly increased volume of one foot associated with pain and redness during early recovery days. These changes may be indicative of early trench foot or capillary damage. Starvation per se appeared to have no effect on foot volume.
Submitted on October 15, 1959
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