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Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

pp 1–13

First Online: 05 June 2017Received: 13 October 2016Accepted: 13 May 2017DOI: 10.1007-s11517-017-1657-3

Cite this article as: Coccarelli, A., Boileau, E., Parthimos, D. et al. Med Biol Eng Comput 2017. doi:10.1007-s11517-017-1657-3


Accidental exposure to cold water environment is one of the most challenging situations in which hypothermia occurs. In the present work, we aim to characterise the energy balance of a human body subjected to such extreme environmental conditions. This study is carried out using a recently developed computational model and by setting boundary conditions needed to simulate the effect of cold surrounding environment. A major finding is the capacity of the body core regions to maintain their temperature high for a substantial amount of time, even under the most extreme environmental conditions. We also considered two disease states that highlight the spectrum of possible pathologies implicated in thermal regulation of the human body. These states are i cardiomyopathy, which affects the operating capacity of the heart, and ii malnutrition, which directly impairs the body’s ability to regulate heat exchange with the environment. We have found that cardiomyopathy has little influence on the thermal balance of the human body, whereas malnutrition has a profound negative effect on the thermal balance and leads to dramatic reduction in core temperature.

KeywordsHypothermia modelling Bio-heat transfer Thermoregulation Cardiomyopathy Malnutrition Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article doi:10.1007-s11517-017-1657-3 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Autor: Alberto Coccarelli - Etienne Boileau - Dimitris Parthimos - Perumal Nithiarasu


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