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OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that acclimatization to high altitude results in an improvement of the ventilatory threshold (VT). METHODS: Eight lowlanders underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing with a cycle ergometer to determine VT and peak oxygen uptake (Vo2peak) in Coventry, United Kingdom (altitude: 80 m), on arrival in leh, india (altitude: 3500 m), and after 12 days of acclimatization that included a 5-day high altitude trek up to 4770 m. RESULTS: Vo2peak fell on arrival at 3500 m and remained depressed at 12 days. VT was depressed on arrival at high altitude and was further depressed at 12 days. VT as a proportion of the Vo2peak was decreased on arrival at high altitude, and after acclimatization, this relationship was further decreased. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who are sedentary or not participating in regular physical training appear to require a longer period of acclimatization than trained athletes. With the increasing numbers participating in high-altitude trekking and charity climbs of peaks, such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, this information has clinically significant practical implications for those leading or acting as medical advisors.

Original publication

DOI

10.1580/07-WEME-BR-1271.1

Type

Journal article

Journal

Wilderness Environ Med

Publication Date

2008

Volume

19

Pages

124 - 128

Keywords

Acclimatization, Adult, Altitude, Altitude Sickness, Exercise Test, Female, Humans, Hypoxia, Male, Maximal Voluntary Ventilation, Oxygen Consumption