Effect of thoracic sympathectomy on arm and leg exercise capacity and on lung function

Issahar Ben-Dov, Natacha Chorney, Mark Gaides, Dov Shachor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Thoracic T2-4 sympathectomy (TS) relieves palmar hyperhidrosis. These same roots innervate the heart and the lung. Thoracoscopic TS minimizes damage to the chest wall so that the effect of sympathectomy itself on these organs can be studied. We attempted to determine whether attenuated sympathetic output affects arm or leg exercise tolerance and lung function in young adults who underwent this operation. Methods: Seven subjects, aged 17-30 years, had lung function tests (water spirometer, Godart, Holland), and leg and arm maximal exercise (CPX, MedGraphics, USA), before and 3-6 months after TS. Results: After TS, resting and exercise heart rate and blood pressure were reduced. Baseline leg and arm peak O2 uptake, 2.08 (0.6) and 1.44 (0.5) liters/min, respectively, were not different from the post-TS values, 2.06 (0.7) and 1.54 (0.5) liters/min (non- significant). Post-TS lung functions were not significantly reduced. Conclusion: Thoracoscopic T2-4 sympathectomy does not lead to a clinically important fall in lung function and does not compromise arm or leg exercise capacity. Therefore, TS can be done safely in young subjects with palmar hyperhidrosis. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-382
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Exercise testing
  • Palmar hyperhidrosis
  • Peripheral vascular flow regulation
  • Sympathectomy
  • Thoracoscopy


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