Response of Aortic and Peripheral Hemodynamics and Arterial Elasticity to Acute Normobaric Hypoxia in Alpinists before and after a Prolonged Stay in Mountains

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The study was aimed at determining whether the cardiotropic effects elicited by staying in highlands and the resistance to acute normobaric hypoxia are preserved after returning to the lowlands. Ten trained male alpinists were investigated twice before and one to three weeks after a 20-day stay at altitudes of 4000–7000 m. They were investigated in the lowlands in three functional states: at rest, after a 17-min exposure to a hypoxic mixture (10% O2 and the group mean blood oxygen saturation at 80% at the end of the procedure), and after a 12-min recovery period. Applanation tonometry and pulse-wave analysis have shown increases in heart rate (HR) and the elasticity of major arteries of the limbs in terms of augmentation index; a decline in the subendocardial viability ratio (SEVR) was diagnosed during the acute hypoxic test before the ascent. Staying in the mountains increases arterial elasticity, decreases aortic and peripheral blood pressure, discharges the left ventricle, and thus improves its diastolic perfusion at rest and in acute hypoxia, which evidences delayed positive cardiovascular effects of high altitude conditions.

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Correspondence to V. N. Melnikov.

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Conflict of interest. The authors declare that they have no obvious or potential conflict of interest related to the publication of this article.

Statement of compliance with standards of research involving humans as subjects. All investigations were performed in compliance with the principles of biomedical ethics formulated by the Helsinki Declaration 1964 and its subsequent amendments and approved by the local Bioethical Committee at the Research Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine (Novosibirsk). Each participant of the study gave a voluntary written informed consent signed upon informing about potential risks and advantages, as well as about the design of the study.

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Translated by N. Tarasyuk

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Melnikov, V.N., Karmakulova, I.V., Komlyagina, T.G. et al. Response of Aortic and Peripheral Hemodynamics and Arterial Elasticity to Acute Normobaric Hypoxia in Alpinists before and after a Prolonged Stay in Mountains. Hum Physiol 45, 673–678 (2019).

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  • high altitude
  • acute normobaric hypoxia
  • central hemodynamics
  • arterial stiffness
  • pulse wave analysis
  • echocardiography