Thoracic sympathectomy and cardiopulmonary responses to exercise

Omri Inbar*, D. Leviel, I. Shwartz, H. Paran, B. J. Whipp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose was to study the effect of endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) for palmar and/or axillary hyperhidrosis on physiological responses at rest, and during sub-maximal and maximal exercise in ten healthy patients (7 females and 3 males 18-40 years old) with idiopathic palmar and/or axillary hyperhidrosis. T2-T3 thoracoscopic sympathectomy was performed using a simplified one stage bilateral procedure. Physiological variables were recorded at rest and during sub-maximal (steady-state) and maximal treadmill exercise immediately prior to and 70 days (±-7.5, SD) after bilateral ETS. Exercise performance capacity and peak VO2 were not found to be different following bilateral ETS than prior to the ETS. However, heart rate was significantly reduced at rest (14%), at sub-maximal exercise (12.3%), and at peak exercise (5.7%), together with a significant increase in oxygen pulse (11.8, 12.7, and 7.8%, respectively). The rate pressure product (RPP) was also significantly reduced following the surgical procedure at all three study stages, while all other physiological variables measured remained unchanged. It is suggested that thoracic-sympathetic denervation affects the heart, sweating, and circulation of the respective denervated region but does not affect exercise performance or mechanical/physiologic efficiency, despite a significant reduction in heart rate (both at rest and during exercise). The latter was, most likely, fully compensated by an increase in stroke volume and less likely by an improved muscle O2 extraction due to more efficient blood distribution, keeping the work-rate and oxygen uptake unaffected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiopulmonary responses
  • Endoscopic sympathectomy
  • Exercise tolerance
  • Muscle metabolism


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