Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Development of a Perceptual Hyperthermia Index to Evaluate Heat Strain during Treadmill Exercise

Gallagher, Jr., Michael (2009) Development of a Perceptual Hyperthermia Index to Evaluate Heat Strain during Treadmill Exercise. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (581kB) | Preview


Fire suppression and rescue is a physiologically demanding occupation due to extreme external heat as well as the additional physical and thermal burden of the protective garments. The hot environment challenges body temperature homeostasis inducing heat stress. Accurate field assessment of hyperthermia is complex and unreliable. Purpose: The present investigation developed a perceptually based hyperthermia metric to measure physiologic exertional heat strain during treadmill exercise. Methods: Sixty-five (28.88 ± 6.75 yrs) female (n=11) and male (n=54) firefighters and non-firefighting volunteers participated in four related thermal stress investigations performing treadmill exercise while wearing thermal protective clothing in a heated room. Physiological and perceptual responses (i.e. body core temperature, perceived exertion, and thermal sensation) were assessed at baseline, 20-mins exercise, and at termination. Results: Perceived exertion increased from baseline (0.24 ± 0.42) to termination (7.43 ± 1.86). Thermal sensation increased from baseline (1.78 ± 0.77) to termination (4.50 ± 0.68). Perceived exertion and thermal sensation were measured concurrently with body core temperature to develop a two-dimensional graphical representation of three "colored" exertional heat strain zones. Each exertional heat strain zone was representative of a range of mean body core temperature responses such that green incorporated 36.0 to 37.4°C, yellow incorporated 37.5 to 37.9°C, and red incorporated 38.0 to greater than 40.5°C. Conclusions: A perceptual hyperthermia index (PHI) was developed using ratings of perceived exertion and thermal sensation. The PHI can provide a quick and easy momentary assessment of the level of risk for exertional heat strain for firefighters engaged in fire suppression and rescue. This metric may be beneficial in high risk environments that threaten the lives of firefighters.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gallagher, Jr.,
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRobertson, Robert J
Committee MemberHostler, David
Committee MemberNagle, Elizabeth F
Committee MemberGoss, Fredric L
Committee MemberSchafer, Mark A
Date: 15 December 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 3 December 2009
Approval Date: 15 December 2009
Submission Date: 8 December 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Health, Physical, Recreational Education
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: firefighters; heat strain; occupational physiology; perceived exertion
Other ID:, etd-12082009-152925
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item