Document Detail

Physiological profile of world-record-holder sherpas.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21377123     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
OBJECTIVE: Tibetans and Sherpas have long been revered for their physical aptitude at high altitude, and are thought to have lived at high altitude longer than any other culture. We performed physiologic testing on 2 Sherpas who currently hold world records for: (1) most number of ascents of Mt Everest and (2) speed ascent of Mt Everest from base camp to the summit. In doing so, we describe certain physiological aspects of these individuals that may contribute to their abilities at altitude.
METHODS: Anthropometric measurements, blood testing, and electro- and echocardiographic examination as well as pulmonary function tests were performed. Exercise testing consisted of treadmill climbing at increasing incline and speed while wearing a 22 kg backpack in Salt Lake City (1325 m) and Park City (2063 m).
RESULTS: Anthropometry, electrocardiography, pulmonary function, strength, and echocardiography were consistent with predicted parameters for the general population. The Sherpas demonstrated appropriate cardiopulmonary response to dynamic exercise similar to moderately fit individuals while performing treadmill testing, both at moderate and high altitude. As expected, the energetic cost increased at higher altitude, likely due to increased respiratory work.
CONCLUSION: The 2 world-record Sherpa climbers were within normal ranges for the specific measurements that were tested. They displayed appropriate cardiopulmonary and physiological responses and exercise performance profiles at moderate and high altitude.
Scott E McIntosh; Massimo Testa; James Walker; Stacie Wing-Gaia; Staci N McIntosh; Sheldon E Litwin; Carrie Needham; Geoffrey C Tabin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-12-04
Journal Detail:
Title:  Wilderness & environmental medicine     Volume:  22     ISSN:  1545-1534     ISO Abbreviation:  Wilderness Environ Med     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-03-07     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9505185     Medline TA:  Wilderness Environ Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  65-71     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.
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