The study participants consisted of 198 trekkers and 24 climbers, including doctors and scientists. The CXE team made the first ever measurement of the oxygen level in human blood at 8400m on Mount Everest. This was the centrepiece of an extensive and continuing programme of research into hypoxia and human performance at extreme altitude aimed at improving the care of the critically ill and other patients where hypoxia is a fundamental problem.
Dr Denny Levett, joint lead author of the paper from the UCL Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine and Deputy Research Lead of the CXE expedition, said: "Climbing to extreme altitudes puts the body in an environment with very low oxygen availability, similar to the experience of patients in intensive care with diseases affecting the heart, lungs or vascular system."
"By taking blood samples from hypoxic, but otherwise healthy, individuals we have been able to show that the body's natural response to low oxygen availability is to increase the production of nitric oxide. Thus, elevated NO occurs not just in those who live at high altitudes permanently, but also in lowlanders who are trying to adapt to high altitude conditions."
The analytical team at Warwick University is world-renowned for its ability to measure the very low levels of NO metabolites in biological samples.
Dr Martin Feelisch, joint senior author of the paper and a Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at Warwick Medical School, who was responsible for the analytical work, said: "In the years ahead, this research may herald a change in e
|Contact: Kate Cox|
University of Warwick