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Interaction Between Ambient Temperature, Hypoxia, and Load Carriage on Respiratory Muscle Fatigue

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BACKGROUND: While respiratory muscle fatigue is present following load carriage activity at sea level, the effect of environmental conditions on respiratory strength while undertaking load carriage is unknown.

METHODS: The effect of thoracic load carriage during walks (5.5 km) in four environments [(thermo-neutral sea level (SL), −10°C (C), 4300 m (H) and 4300 m at −10°C (HC)] was evaluated on respiratory muscle fatigue. Ten subjects completed eight self-paced randomized treadmill walks comprising a variety of gradients, unloaded and loaded (18.2 kg), across the four environments. Respiratory muscle strength was measured via maximal inspiratory pressure (PImax) and expiratory pressure (PEmax) assessments.

RESULTS: Submaximal walking in HC elicited respiratory muscle fatigue when compared to SL. Inspiratory muscle fatigue was independent of load. The relative change in PImax from baseline was significantly greater in HC compared to SL (9.6% vs. 1.3%). PEmax showed a significant reduction during HC (−22.3 cmH2O, −14.4%) when compared to the other three environments.

CONCLUSION: These results highlight the need to focus on respiratory muscle strength in preparation for exercise in cold hypoxic conditions.

Hinde K, Low C, Lloyd R, Cooke C. Interaction between ambient temperature, hypoxia, and load carriage on respiratory muscle fatigue. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2018; 89(11):952–960.
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Keywords: cold; hypoxia; load carriage

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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