Lowest Blood Oxygen Level Recorded on Mt.Everest
On top of the world, just below the more than 29,000-foot high peak of Mount Everest, a team of four British medical researchers braved the elements and took their own blood samples. What they found was staggering—their oxygen levels were the lowest ever recorded, well below levels that would normally prove lethal on the ground. And while the team’s study has just been published, one of its authors tells PM that his research performed on the world’s tallest peak could help doctors treat intensive care patients struggling with low levels of oxygen in their own bloodstream.
An average person at sea level has about 13-14 kilopascals (kPa) of oxygen in their bloodstream, University College of London medical researcher Dr.Dan Martin says. When his intensive care patients drop to around 8 kPa he gets very worried, and a normal person with 6 kPa of oxygen faces almost certain death. Imagine his shock, then, when he and three colleagues on the top of Mount Everest measured their own blood oxygen level to be between 2.5 and 4 kPa, the lowest ever measured in live people.
Martin and his colleagues -all experienced climbers- also took muscle biopsies while on the mountain. They hope their findings may lead to knowledge that will help patients in intensive care, where sudden oxygen drops can lead to death.
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