Analyses of maximum cardiopulmonary performance during exposure to acute hypoxia at simulated altitude--sea level to 5000 meters (760-404 mm Hg)

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1985 Dec;56(12):1192-7.


The maximum cardiopulmonary performance of seven healthy male subjects was studied repeatedly in graded hypoxia at ambient pressures ranging from 760 to 404 mm Hg (sea level to 5000 m of simulated altitude). Using this approach it has been possible to not only establish a reproducible value for VO2max, but to determine an equation which may be used to predict the VO2 at altitude for healthy, unacclimatized males exercising to exhaustion. Moreover, we have attempted to explain the limits to pulmonary ventilation at decreasing levels of PO2 by comparing a given VO2max (STPD) to the corresponding VEmax (BTPS), showing that any further increase in the latter is impossible when a certain level of altitude has been reached. Finally, our series of experiments indicates that the HRmax falls at altitude. Although statistically significant, this decrement is not conspicuous. Thus, when used with the VO2max to calculate the number of ml of O2 consumed per beat of the heart, the "oxygen pulse" turns out to be more sensitive to the fall in VO2max at altitude than to the corresponding decrease in the HRmax.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Altitude*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Exercise Test*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio


  • Oxygen