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Respiratory Physiology at Altitude
  1. Sqn Ldr Claire Sandberg, Specialist Trainee Anaesthetics1 and
  2. J Naylor, MDHU, Consultant Respiratory Medicine2
  1. 1Anaesthetic Department, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UY 01603 286286 (ext. 3074) drbairsto{at}
  2. 2Peterborough, Peterborough City Hospital, Edith Cavell Campus, Bretton Gate, Peterborough


The changes in respiratory physiology that occur with increasing altitude are driven by the fall in the partial pressure of oxygen that occurs with decreasing barometric pressure. At altitude, respiratory system changes occur which impact on each step of the oxygen cascade that occurs within the body. These changes are pivotal to the process of acclimatisation to altitude. The study of human respiratory physiology at altitude has the potential to produce research that will be translational to disease states characterised by hypoxaemia.

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