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Journal Articles High Altitude Medicine & Biology Year : 2024

A Step Test to Evaluate the Susceptibility to Severe High-Altitude Illness in Field Conditions

Abstract

A laboratory-based hypoxic exercise test, performed on a cycle ergometer, can be used to predict susceptibility to severe high-altitude illness (SHAI) through the calculation of a clinicophysiological SHAI score. Our objective was to design a field-condition test and compare its derived SHAI score and various physiological parameters, such as peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2), and cardiac and ventilatory responses to hypoxia during exercise (HCRe and HVRe, respectively), to the laboratory test. A group of 43 healthy subjects (15 females and 28 males), with no prior experience at high altitude, performed a hypoxic cycle ergometer test (simulated altitude of 4,800 m) and step tests (20 cm high step) at 3,000, 4,000, and 4,800 m simulated altitudes. According to tested altitudes, differences were observed in O2 desaturation, heart rate, and minute ventilation (p < 0.001), whereas the computed HCRe and HVRe were not different (p = 0.075 and p = 0.203, respectively). From the linear relationships between the step test and SHAI scores, we defined a risk zone, allowing us to evaluate the risk of developing SHAI and take adequate preventive measures in field conditions, from the calculated step test score for the given altitude. The predictive value of this new field test remains to be validated in real high-altitude conditions.
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hal-04565003 , version 1 (02-05-2024)

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Eric Hermand, Léo Lesaint, Laura Denis, Jean-Paul Richalet, François Lhuissier. A Step Test to Evaluate the Susceptibility to Severe High-Altitude Illness in Field Conditions. High Altitude Medicine & Biology, 2024, ⟨10.1089/ham.2023.0065⟩. ⟨hal-04565003⟩
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