Pulse oximetry at high altitude.
ABSTRACT Pulse oximetry is a valuable, noninvasive, diagnostic tool for the evaluation of ill individuals at high altitude and is also being increasingly used to monitor the well-being of individuals traveling on high altitude expeditions. Although the devices are simple to use, data output may be inaccurate or hard to interpret in certain situations, which could lead to inappropriate clinical decisions. The purpose of this review is to consider such issues in greater detail. After examining the operating principles of pulse oximetry, we describe the available devices and the potential uses of oximetry at high altitude. We then consider the pitfalls of pulse oximetry in this environment and provide recommendations about how to deal with these issues. Device users should recognize that oxygen saturation changes rapidly in response to small changes in oxygen tensions at high altitude and that device accuracy declines with arterial oxygen saturations of less than 80%. The normal oxygen saturation at a given elevation may not be known with certainty and should be viewed as a range of values, rather than a specific number. For these reasons, clinical decisions should not be based on small differences in saturation over time or among individuals. Effort should also be made to minimize factors that cause measurement errors, including cold extremities, excess ambient light, and ill-fitting oximeter probes. Attention to these and other issues will help the users of these devices to apply them in appropriate situations and to minimize erroneous clinical decisions.
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ABSTRACT: Objective: If the body fails to acclimatize at high altitude, acute mountain sickness (AMS) may result. For the early detection of AMS, changes in cardiac autonomic function measured by heart rate variability (HRV) may be more sensitive than clinical symptoms alone. The purpose of this study was to ascertain if the changes in HRV during ascent are related to AMS. Methods: We followed Lake Louise Score (LLS), arterial oxygen saturation at rest (R-SpO(2)) and exercise (Ex-SpO(2)) and HRV parameters daily in 36 different healthy climbers ascending from 2400 m to 6300 m altitudes during five different expeditions. Results: After an ascent to 2400 m, root mean square successive differences, high-frequency power (HF(2 min)) of HRV were 17-51% and Ex-SpO(2) was 3% lower in those climbers who suffered from AMS at 3000 to 4300 m than in those only developing AMS later (≥5000 m) or not at all (all p < 0.01). At the altitude of 2400 m RMSSD(2 min) ≤ 30 ms and Ex-SpO(2) ≤ 91% both had 92% sensitivity for AMS if ascent continued without extra acclimatization days. Conclusions: Changes in supine HRV parameters at 2400 m were related to AMS at 3000-4300 m Thus, analyses of HRV could offer potential markers for identifying the climbers at risk for AMS.Frontiers in Physiology 01/2012; 3:336.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE.-: High altitude environments present unique medical treatment challenges. Medical providers often use small portable pulse oximetry devices to help guide their clinical decision making. A significant body of high altitude research is based on the use of these devices to monitor hypoxia, yet there is a paucity of evidence that these devices are accurate in these environments. We studied whether these devices perform accurately and reliably under true mountain conditions. METHODS.-: Healthy unacclimatized active-duty military volunteers participating in mountain warfare training at 2100 m (6900 feet) above sea level were evaluated with several different pulse oximetry devices while in a cold weather, high altitude field environment and then had arterial blood gases (ABG) drawn using an i-STAT for comparison. The pulse oximeter readings were compared with the gold standard ABG readings. RESULTS.-: A total of 49 individuals completed the study. There was no statistically significant difference between any of the devices and the gold standard of ABG. The best performing device was the PalmSAT (PS) 8000SM finger probe with a mean difference of 2.17% and SD of 2.56 (95% CI, 1.42% to 2.92%). In decreasing order of performance were the PS 8000AA finger probe (mean ± SD, 2.54% ± 2.68%; 95% CI, 1.76% to 3.32%), the PS 8000Q ear probe (2.47% ± 4.36%; 95% CI, 1.21% to 3.75%), the Nonin Onyx 9500 (3.29% ± 3.12%; 95% CI, 2.39% to 4.20%), and finally the PS 8000R forehead reflectance sensor (5.15% ± 2.97%; 95% CI, 4.28% to 6.01%). CONCLUSIONS.-: Based on the results of this study, results of the newer portable pulse oximeters appear to be closely correlated to that of the ABG measurements when tested in true mountain conditions.Wilderness and Environmental Medicine 02/2013; · 1.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study was performed to evaluate whether increasing hemoglobin before ascent by prophylactic erythropoietin injections prevents acute mountain sickness (AMS). This open-label, randomized, controlled trial involved 39 healthy volunteers with hemoglobin ≤15.5 g/dL who were divided randomly into erythropoietin (n=20) and control (n=19) groups. Epoetin alpha 10,000 IU injections were given weekly for four consecutive weeks. On day 1, and 7 days after the last injection (day 29), oxygen saturation (SaO2), and hemoglobin were measured. The subjects departed Seoul on day 30 and arrived at Annapurna base camp (ABC, 4,130 m) on day 34. AMS was diagnosed when headache and Lake Louise score (LLS) of ≥3 were present. Immediate descent criteria followed US Army recommendations. Two groups differ in hemoglobin levels on day 29 (15.4±1.1 vs 14.2±1.0 g/dL, P=0.001). At ABC, erythropoietin group had a significantly lower mean LLS, AMS incidence, and number of subjects who met immediate descent criteria. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that SaO2<87% and control group, but not hemoglobin<15.0 g/dL, independently predicted satisfaction of immediate descent criteria. Erythropoietin-related adverse effects were not observed. In conclusion, erythropoietin may be an effective prophylaxis for AMS.(Clinical Trial Registry Number; NCT 01665781).Journal of Korean medical science 03/2014; 29(3):416-22. · 0.84 Impact Factor