Efficacy of Residence at Moderate Versus Low Altitude on Reducing Acute Mountain Sickness in Men Following Rapid Ascent to 4300 m

1 Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine , Natick, Massachusetts.
High altitude medicine & biology (Impact Factor: 1.28). 03/2013; 14(1):13-8. DOI: 10.1089/ham.2012.1065
Source: PubMed


Abstract Staab, Janet E., Beth A. Beidleman, Stephen R. Muza, Charles S. Fulco, Paul B. Rock, and Allen Cymerman. Efficacy of residence at moderate versus low altitude on reducing acute mountain sickness in men following rapid ascent to 4300 m. High Alt Med Biol 14:13-18, 2013.-To determine if residence at moderate (∼2000 m) compared to low (<50 m) altitude reduces acute mountain sickness (AMS) in men during subsequent rapid ascent to a higher altitude. Nine moderate-altitude residents (MAR) and 18 sea-level residents (SLR) completed the Environmental Symptoms Questionnaire (ESQ) at their respective baseline residence and again at 12, 24, 48, and 72 h at 4300 m to assess the severity and prevalence of AMS. AMS cerebral factor score (AMS-C) was calculated from the ESQ at each time point. AMS was judged to be present if AMS-C was ≥0.7. Resting end-tidal CO2 (PETco2) and arterial oxygen saturation (Sao2) were assessed prior to and at 24, 48, and 72 h at 4300 m. Resting venous blood samples were collected prior to and at 72 h at 4300 m to estimate plasma volume (PV) changes. MAR compared to SLR: 1) AMS severity at 4300 was lower (p<0.05) at 12 h (0.50±0.69 vs. 1.48±1.28), 24 h (0.15±0.19 vs. 1.39±1.19), 48 h (0.10±0.18 vs. 1.37±1.49) and 72 h (0.08±0.12 vs. 0.69±0.70); 2) AMS prevalence at 4300 was lower (p<0.05) at 12 h (22% vs. 72%), 24 h (0% vs. 56%), 48 h (0% vs. 56%), and 72 h (0% vs. 45%); 3) resting Sao2 (%) was lower (p<0.05) at baseline (95±1 vs. 99±1) but higher (p<0.05) at 4300 at 24 h (86±2 vs. 81±5), 48 h (88±3 vs. 83±6), and 72 h (88±2 vs. 83±5); and 4) PV (%) did not differ at 72 h at 4300 m in the MAR (4.5±6.7) but was reduced for the SLR (-8.1±10.4). These results suggest that ventilatory and hematological acclimatization acquired while living at moderate altitude, as indicated by a higher resting Sao2 and no reduction in PV during exposure to a higher altitude, is associated with greatly reduced AMS after rapid ascent to high altitude.

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    ABSTRACT: Hypoxia increases the ventilatory response to exercise, which leads to hyperventilation-induced hypocapnia and subsequent reduction in cerebral blood flow (CBF). We studied the effects of adding CO2 to a hypoxic inspired gas on CBF during heavy exercise in an altitude naïve population. We hypothesized that augmented inspired CO2 and hypoxia would exert synergistic effects on increasing CBF during exercise, which would improve exercise capacity compared to hypocapnic hypoxia. We also examined the responsiveness of CO2 and O2 chemoreception on the regulation ventilation (E) during incremental exercise. We measured middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv; index of CBF), E, end-tidal PCO2, respiratory compensation threshold (RC) and ventilatory response to exercise (E slope) in ten healthy men during incremental cycling to exhaustion in normoxia and hypoxia (FIO2 = 0.10) with and without augmenting the fraction of inspired CO2 (FICO2). During exercise in normoxia, augmenting FICO2 elevated MCAv throughout exercise and lowered both RC onset andE slope below RC (P<0.05). In hypoxia, MCAv and E slope below RC during exercise were elevated, while the onset of RC occurred at lower exercise intensity (P<0.05). Augmenting FICO2 in hypoxia increased E at RC (P<0.05) but no difference was observed in RC onset, MCAv, or E slope below RC (P>0.05). The E slope above RC was unchanged with either hypoxia or augmented FICO2 (P>0.05). We found augmenting FICO2 increased CBF during sub-maximal exercise in normoxia, but not in hypoxia, indicating that the ‘normal’ cerebrovascular response to hypercapnia is blunted during exercise in hypoxia, possibly due to an exhaustion of cerebral vasodilatory reserve. This finding may explain the lack of improvement of exercise capacity in hypoxia with augmented CO2. Our data further indicate that, during exercise below RC, chemoreception is responsive, while above RC the ventilatory response to CO2 is blunted.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · PLoS ONE