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Control of ventilation in extreme-altitude climbers

, : Control of ventilation in extreme-altitude climbers. Journal of Applied Physiology 61(2): 500-506

Ten climbers who participated in the Nepal-Japan Kangchenjunga Expedition (altitude, 8,478-8,586 m) in 1984 were examined for their hypercapnic and isocapnic hypoxic ventilatory responses (HCVR and HVR) at sea level before and after the expedition. Five climbers who reached an altitude higher than 8,000 m, [designated high-performance climbers (HPC)] exhibited significantly higher HVR than five climbers who did not [low-performance climbers (LPC)]. On the other hand, no significant difference in HCVR was seen between HPC and LPC. Our results were in agreement with the findings reported by Schoene et al. (J. Appl. Physiol. 56: 1478-1483, 1984) obtained in the American Medical Research Expedition to Everest in 1981. Significant depression in HVR in five climbers was found even 35-40 days after the expedition, which was accompanied by decreased arterial partial pressure of CO2 and increased pH at rest. Hence, the effect of altitude acclimatization in the climbers exposed to extreme altitude may have still persisted at the time of the postexpedition study. Our results confirmed that HRV evaluated at sea level may be used as an indicator of a climber's capability at great high altitude.


PMID: 3091567

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