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Kathmandu, Nepal

Fan J.-L.,University of Otago | Burgess K.R.,University of New South Wales | Basnyat R.,Nepal International Clinic | Thomas K.N.,University of Otago | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Physiology | Year: 2010

An altered acid-base balance following ascent to high altitude has been well established. Such changes in pH buffering could potentially account for the observed increase in ventilatory CO2 sensitivity at high altitude. Likewise, if [H+] is the main determinant of cerebrovascular tone, then an alteration in pH buffering may also enhance the cerebral blood flow (CBF) responsiveness to CO2 (termed cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity). However, the effect altered acid-base balance associated with high altitude ascent on cerebrovascular and ventilatory responsiveness to CO2 remains unclear. We measured ventilation , middle cerebral artery velocity (MCAv; index of CBF) and arterial blood gases at sea level and following ascent to 5050 m in 17 healthy participants during modified hyperoxic rebreathing. At 5050 m, resting , MCAv and pH were higher (P < 0.01), while bicarbonate concentration and partial pressures of arterial O2 and CO2 were lower (P < 0.01) compared to sea level. Ascent to 5050 m also increased the hypercapnic MCAv CO2 reactivity (2.9 ± 1.1 vs. 4.8 ± 1.4% mmHg-1; P < 0.01) and CO2 sensitivity (3.6 ± 2.3 vs. 5.1 ± 1.7 l min-1 mmHg-1; P < 0.01). Likewise, the hypocapnic MCAv CO2 reactivity was increased at 5050 m (4.2 ± 1.0 vs. 2.0 ± 0.6% mmHg-1; P < 0.01). The hypercapnic MCAv CO2 reactivity correlated with resting pH at high altitude (R2= 0.4; P < 0.01) while the central chemoreflex threshold correlated with bicarbonate concentration (R2= 0.7; P < 0.01). These findings indicate that (1) ascent to high altitude increases the ventilatory CO2 sensitivity and elevates the cerebrovascular responsiveness to hypercapnia and hypocapnia, and (2) alterations in cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity and central chemoreflex may be partly attributed to an acid-base balance associated with high altitude ascent. Collectively, our findings provide new insights into the influence of high altitude on cerebrovascular function and highlight the potential role of alterations in acid-base balance in the regulation in CBF and ventilatory control. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Physiological Society.


Thomas K.N.,University of Otago | Burgess K.R.,University of Sydney | Basnyat R.,Nepal International Clinic | Lucas S.J.E.,University of Otago | And 5 more authors.
High Altitude Medicine and Biology | Year: 2010

Thomas, Kate N., Keith R. Burgess, Rishi Basnyat, Samuel J.E. Lucas, James D. Cotter, Jui-Lin Fan, Karen C. Peebles, Rebekah A.I. Lucas, Philip N. Ainslie. Initial orthostatic hypotension at high altitude. High Alt. Med. Biol. 11:163-167, 2010.-There are several reports on syncope occurring following standing at high altitude (HA), yet description of the detailed physiological responses to standing at HA are lacking. We examined the hypothesis that appropriate physiological adjustments to upright posture would be compromised at HA (5050m). Ten healthy volunteers stood up rapidly from supine rest, for 3min, at sea level and at 5050m. Beat-to-beat mean arterial blood pressure (MAP, Finometer), middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCAv, Transcranial Doppler), end-tidal PCO2 and PO2, and heart rate (ECG) were recorded continuously. After 14 days at HA, baseline MAP and MCAv were not different to sea level, although HR was elevated. Neither the magnitude of initial (<15s) responses to standing, nor the time course of initial recovery differed at HA compared with sea level (p>0.05). By 3min of standing, MAP was restored to supine values both at sea level (-3±12mmHg) and HA (4±10mmHg), although there was more complete recovery of HR at sea level (+13±10b•min-1, p=0.02 vs.+23±10b•min -1, p=0.01). Reduced MCAv at 3min was comparable at sea level and altitude (both-16%). These data indicate that initial cardiovascular and cerebrovascular responses to standing are unaltered when partially acclimatized to HA. © 2010 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Burgess K.R.,Peninsula Sleep Laboratory | Burgess K.R.,University of Sydney | Lucas S.J.E.,University of Otago | Shepherd K.,Peninsula Sleep Laboratory | And 9 more authors.
Sleep | Year: 2014

Study Objectives: To further our understanding of central sleep apnea (CSA) at high altitude during acclimatization, we tested the hypothesis that pharmacologically altering cerebral blood flow (CBF) would alter the severity of CSA at high altitude.Design: The study was a randomized, placebo-controlled single-blind study.Setting: A field study at 5,050 m in Nepal.Patients or Participants: We studied 12 normal volunteers.Interventions: Between days 5 to10 at high altitude, CBF velocity (CBFv) was increased by intravenous (IV) acetazolamide (10 mg/kg) and reduced by oral indomethacin (100 mg).Measurements and Results: Arterial blood gases, hypoxic and hypercapnic ventilatory responses, and CBFv and its reactivity to carbon dioxide were measured awake. Overnight polysomnography was performed. The central apnea-hypopnea index was elevated following administration of indomethacin (89.2 ± 43.7 to 112.5 ± 32.9 events/h; mean ± standard deviation; P < 0.05) and was reduced following IV acetazolamide (89.2 ± 43.7 to 47.1 ± 48.1 events/h; P < 0.001). Intravenous acetazolamide elevated CBFv at high altitude by 28% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 22-34%) but did not affect ventilatory responses. The elevation in CBFv was partly mediated via a selective rise in partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide (PaCO2) (28 ± 4 to 31 ± 3 mm Hg) and an associated fall in pH (P < 0.01). Oral indomethacin reduced CBFv by 23% (95% CI: 16-30%), blunted CBFv reactivity, and increased the hypercapnic ventilatory response by 66% (95% CI: 30-102%) but had no effect on PaCO 2 or pH.Conclusion: Our findings indicate an important role for cerebral blood flow regulation in the pathophysiology of central sleep apnea at high altitude.


Brodmann Maeder M.M.,University of Bern | Basnyat B.,Nepal International Clinic | Stuart Harris N.,Massachusetts General Hospital
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine | Year: 2014

This article describes a private initiative in which professional Swiss rescuers, based at the foot of the Matterhorn, trained Nepalese colleagues in advanced high altitude helicopter rescue and medical care techniques. What started as a limited program focused on mountain safety has rapidly developed into a comprehensive project to improve rescue and medical care in the Mt Everest area for both foreign travelers and the local Nepalese people. © 2014 Wilderness Medical Society.


Jansen G.F.A.,University of Amsterdam | Basnyat B.,Nepal International Clinic
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism | Year: 2011

Humans have populated the Tibetan plateau much longer than the Andean Altiplano. It is thought that the difference in length of occupation of these altitudes has led to different responses to the stress of hypoxia. As such, Andean populations have higher hematocrit levels than Himalayans. In contrast, Himalayans have increased circulation to certain organ systems to meet tissue oxygen demand. In this study, we hypothesize that cerebral blood flow (CBF) is higher in Himalayans than in Andeans. Using a MEDLINE and EMBASE search, we included 10 studies that investigated CBF in Andeans and Himalayans between 3,658 and 4,330 m altitude. The CBF values were corrected for differences in hematocrit and arterial oxygen saturation. The data of these studies show a mean hematocrit of 50% in Himalayans and 54.1% in Andeans. Arterial oxygen saturation was 86.9% in Andeans and 88.4% in Himalayans. The CBF in Himalayans was slightly elevated compared with sea-level subjects, and was 24% higher compared with Andeans. After correction for hematorit and arterial oxygen saturation, CBF was 20% higher in Himalayans compared with Andeans. Altered brain metabolism in Andeans, and/or increased nitric oxide availability in Himalayans may have a role to explain this difference in brain blood flow. © 2011 ISCBFM All rights reserved.

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