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Supplemental Oxygen Effects on Ventilation in Acclimatized Subjects Exercising at 5700 m Altitude

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Windsor JS, Rodway GW, Caudwell Xtreme Everest Research Group. Supplemental oxygen effects on ventilation in acclimatized subjects exercising at 5700 m altitude. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:426–429.

Introduction: This study examines the effect of supplemental oxygen on acclimatized mountaineers at high altitude during rest and sub-maximal exercise. Methods: Three healthy, acclimatized participants undertook nine periods of data collection lasting 10 min each over 2 consecutive days at 5700 m. These occurred at rest and exercise (40 and 80 W), breathing ambient air or supplemental oxygen (2 and 4 L · min−1) through an open-circuit breathing system. Results: As minute ventilation increased during exercise, the fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2) fell from 0.31 at rest to 0.23 with 2 L · min−1 of oxygen and from 0.36 to 0.26 with 4 L · min−1. Oxygen at both flow rates resulted in a significant increase in the arterial blood saturation of oxygen (SaO2) (Rest: 79% to 96% to 97%; 40 W: 80% to 95% to 97%; 80 W: 76% to 94% to 98%) and reduction in respiratory rate (RR) (Rest: 28 to 22 to 24; 40 W: 36 to 25 to 25; 80 W: 41 to 26 to 26). Tidal volume (VT, ml · s−1) was found to increase with the addition of oxygen (Rest: 959 to 844 to 969; 40 W: 1393 to 1834 to 1851; 80 W: 1558 to 2105 to 2215) and resulted in a non-significant reduction in minute ventilation (VE, L) (Rest: 25 to 17 to 21; 40 W: 46 to 45 to 43; 80 W: 61 to 51 to 53). No significant changes in heart rate were observed when oxygen was used (Rest: 78 to 62 to 71; 40 W: 90 to 91 to 96; 80 W: 105 to 102 to101). Conclusion: An open-circuit breathing system may increase SaO2 and reduce RR in acclimatized mountaineers during rest and sub-maximal exercise at 5700 m, though further research is needed to confirm this.
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Keywords: altitude; exercise; mask; open circuit; supplemental oxygen

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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