Altitude effects on the cardiovascular system

The cardiac system is more resistant to hypoxia than the respiratory and central nervous systems. Tachycardia may occur at approximately 4000 ft (1200 m), achieving a maximal rate at approximately 22 000 ft (6600 m). Initially, an increase in cardiac output will occur due to the tachycardia and selective vasoconstriction. However, this increased myocardial oxygen consumption in an already exisitng ischemic hypoxic myocardium can lead to bradycardia, hypotension, arrhythmias, and cardiac arrest.

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