Cold pressor test

The cold pressor test is a cardiovascular test performed by immersing the hand into an ice water container, usually for one minute, and measuring changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Its response is clinically indicative concerning vascular response and pulse excitability.

Other measures can also be obtained from the cold pressor such as pain threshold and pain tolerance.[1][2][3] This is done by requiring a participant to place their hand in the cold pressor for as long as they can. Once pain is present, they let the researcher know. Once the pain is unbearable, the participant removes his/her hand. This provides a measure of threshold (first feeling pain) and tolerance (total time minus threshold). This method is the most frequently used application of the cold pressor task. Comparable in terms of pain elicitation is the hot water immersion test, the equivalent to the cold pressor using hot water. The hot water immersion test (HIT) is equally capable of triggering a pain response without the confounding of baroreflex activation.[4]


Sensory afferents trigger a systemic sympathetic activation leading to marked vasoconstriction. The result is an elevated pulse pressure(normal is 70mm Hg), due to catecholamine release. This increased pressure fills the ventricle to a greater extent, but stroke volume decreases for by an increase in afterload.


  • A. B. Lafleche et al. Arterial response during cold pressor test in borderline hypertension. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 275: H409-H415, 1998;
  1. ^ Daniel Lowery, Roger B. Fillingim, and Rex A. Wright, D; Fillingim, RB; Wright, RA (March/April 2003). "Sex Differences and Incentive Effects on Perceptual and Cardiovascular Responses to Cold Pressor Pain". Psychosomatic Medicine 65:284-291 (2003) 65 (2): 284–91. doi:10.1097/01.PSY.0000033127.11561.78. PMID 12651996. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  2. ^ Staff (9-Apr-2003). "Higher pain tolerance in males can't be bought". Eurekalert. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  3. ^ Jennifer L. Brown, David Sheffield, Mark R. Leary, and Michael E. Robinson (March/April 2003). "Social Support and Experimental Pain". Psychosomatic Medicine 65:276-283 (2003) 65 (2). Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  4. ^ Anouk Streff, Linn K. Kuehl, Gilles Michaux, Fernand Anton (June 2009). "Differential physiological effects during tonic painful hand immersion tests using hot and ice water.". European Journal of Pain. doi:10.1016/j.ejpain.2009.05.011. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cold pressor test — immersion of one hand in ice water for several minutes, causing vasoconstriction, tachycardia, and transient hypertension; it is used as an alternative stress test for detection of coronary artery disease in patients incapable of undergoing an… …   Medical dictionary

  • cold pressor test — noun : the response of a person s blood pressure to immersion of one hand in ice water for one minute, an excessive rise or slow return to normal being considered an indication of susceptibility to the development of hypertension …   Useful english dictionary

  • test — 1. To prove; to try a substance; to determine the chemical nature of a substance by means of reagents. 2. A method of examination, as to determine the presence or absence of a definite disease or of some substance in any of the fluids, tissues,… …   Medical dictionary

  • Hines and Brown test — cold pressor t …   Medical dictionary

  • Pathophysiology of hypertension — A diagram explaining factors affecting arterial pressure The pathophysiology of hypertension is an area of active research, attempting to explain causes of hypertension, which is a chronic disease characterized by elevation of blood pressure.… …   Wikipedia

  • Pain — This article is about physical pain. For pain in the broader sense, see Suffering. For other uses, see Pain (disambiguation). Pain A sports player in pain. ICD 10 R52 …   Wikipedia

  • Neuralgia — Classification and external resources ICD 10 M79.2 ICD 9 729.2 …   Wikipedia

  • Nociception assay — A Nociception assay (nocioception or nocioperception assay) evaluates the ability of an animal, usually a rodent, to detect a noxious stimulus such as the feeling of pain, caused by stimulation of nociceptors. These assays measure the existence… …   Wikipedia

  • Back pain — Different regions (curvatures) of the vertebral column ICD 10 M54 ICD …   Wikipedia

  • Shoulder problem — Shoulder problems including pain, are one of the more common reasons for physician visits for musculoskeletal symptoms. The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body. However, it is an unstable joint because of the range of motion allowed.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.