Relative hypoventilation in relation to highaltitude hypoxia

Hypoxia is a potent stimulator of resting ventilation by activating peripheral chemoreceptors. This hypoxic ventilatory response is not the same in all subjects. In several cases mountaineers suffering from acute mountain sickness have had a lower arterial partial pressure of oxygen and a lower arterial oxygen saturation than healthy persons at high altitude. Despite this fact, literature data are controversial since there is generally no correlation between the ventilatory drive in hypoxia and acute mountain sickness. Thus a low hypoxic ventilatory response does not appear to be the dominant pathophysiological factor predisposing to the development of acute mountain sickness.

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