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Hot flashes, core body temperature, and metabolic parameters in breast cancer survivors

Carpenter, Janet S. PhD, RN1; Gilchrist, Janet M. PhD, RD2; Chen, Kong PhD3; Gautam, Shiva PhD3; Freedman, Robert R. PhD4

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Objective: To examine core body temperature, energy expenditure, and respiratory quotient among breast cancer survivors experiencing hot flashes and compare these data to published studies from healthy women.

Design: In an observational study, nine breast cancer survivors with daily hot flashes who met specified criteria spent 24 hours in a temperature- and humidity-controlled whole-room indirect calorimeter (ie, metabolic room). Demographic and disease/treatment information were obtained and the following were measured: hot flashes via sternal skin conductance monitoring (sampled every second); core body temperature via an ingested radiotelemetry pill (sampled every 10 seconds); and energy expenditure and respiratory quotient via a whole-room indirect calorimeter (calculated every minute).

Results: Circadian analysis of core temperature indicated wide variability with disrupted circadian rhythm noted in all women. Core temperature began to rise 20 minutes pre-flash to 7 minutes pre-flash (0.09°C increase). Increases in energy expenditure and respiratory quotient increased with each hot flash.

Conclusions: Findings are comparable to published data from healthy women and warrant replication in larger, more diverse samples of women treated for breast cancer.

©2004The North American Menopause Society


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