Document Detail

A review of electrocardiography in the high altitude environment.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20367489     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
An ascent to altitude places considerable demands on the cardiovascular system. Changes in the rate, rhythm, and morphology of the electrocardiogram reflect the fall in the partial pressure of inspired oxygen (PiO2) and the adaptive responses that the human body makes. The effect of hypoxia on the autonomic nervous system results in changes to the heart rate during rest and exercise. Although this is raised during rest and submaximal exercise, maximal heart rate at altitude is reduced as a result of changes in parasympathetic activity. Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction leads to a rise in pulmonary artery pressure and morphological changes on the electrocardiogram. Right axis deviation, right bundle branch block, and changes to P and T wave amplitudes are commonly found on ascent and resolve only after a return to low altitude. Although atrial and ventricular ectopic activity is also common, tachyarrhythmias are rare in healthy individuals. However, in those with significant cardiac disease, the hypoxic environment can be hazardous, exposing individuals to ischemia and the risk of sudden cardiac death.
Jeremy S Windsor; George W Rodway; Hugh E Montgomery
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  High altitude medicine & biology     Volume:  11     ISSN:  1557-8682     ISO Abbreviation:  High Alt. Med. Biol.     Publication Date:  2010  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-04-06     Completed Date:  2010-07-15     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  100901183     Medline TA:  High Alt Med Biol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  51-60     Citation Subset:  IM; S    
UCL Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine, Institute of Human Health and Performance, University College London, London, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Anoxia / physiopathology
Apnea / physiopathology
Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
Bundle-Branch Block / physiopathology
Cardiac Output / physiology
Coronary Circulation / physiology
Heart Rate / physiology
Oxygen / blood
Sleep / physiology
Reg. No./Substance:

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