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      Heart rate and blood pressure responses during hypoxic cycles of a 3-week intermittent hypoxia breathing program in patients at risk for or with mild COPD

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          The aim of this study was to provide information on heart rate and blood pressure responses during a 3-week intermittent hypoxia breathing program in COPD patients. Sixteen participants with COPD symptoms were randomly assigned to a hypoxia or control group and completed a 3-week intermittent hypoxia breathing program (five sessions per week, each consisting of three to five breathing cycles, each cycle lasting 3–5 minutes with 3-minute breaks between cycles). During the breathing cycles, the hypoxia group received hypoxic air (inspired fraction of oxygen 15%–12%), whereas the control group received normal air (sham hypoxia). During the breaks, all participants breathed normoxic room air. Arterial oxygen saturation, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate were measured during the normoxic and hypoxic/sham hypoxic periods. For each breathing cycle, changes from normoxia to hypoxia/sham hypoxia were calculated, and changes were averaged for each of the 15 sessions and for each week. Changes in arterial oxygen saturation were significantly different between groups in the course of the 3 weeks (two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures), with post hoc differences in weeks 1, 2, and 3. During the course of the intermittent hypoxia application, no between-group differences were detected for blood pressure or rate pressure product values. Changes in heart rate were significantly different between groups in the course of the 3 weeks (two-way analysis of variance for repeated measures), with post hoc differences only in week 3. Averages over all 15 sessions were significantly higher in the hypoxia group for heart rate and rate pressure product, and tended to be increased for systolic blood pressure. The applied intermittent hypoxia breathing program resulted in specific and moderate heart rate and blood pressure responses, and did not provoke a progressive increase in blood pressure during the hypoxic cycles in the course of the application.

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          Physiological adaptation of the cardiovascular system to high altitude.

           Robert Naeije (2010)
          Altitude exposure is associated with major changes in cardiovascular function. The initial cardiovascular response to altitude is characterized by an increase in cardiac output with tachycardia, no change in stroke volume, whereas blood pressure may temporarily be slightly increased. After a few days of acclimatization, cardiac output returns to normal, but heart rate remains increased, so that stroke volume is decreased. Pulmonary artery pressure increases without change in pulmonary artery wedge pressure. This pattern is essentially unchanged with prolonged or lifelong altitude sojourns. Ventricular function is maintained, with initially increased, then preserved or slightly depressed indices of systolic function, and an altered diastolic filling pattern. Filling pressures of the heart remain unchanged. Exercise in acute as well as in chronic high-altitude exposure is associated with a brisk increase in pulmonary artery pressure. The relationships between workload, cardiac output, and oxygen uptake are preserved in all circumstances, but there is a decrease in maximal oxygen consumption, which is accompanied by a decrease in maximal cardiac output. The decrease in maximal cardiac output is minimal in acute hypoxia but becomes more pronounced with acclimatization. This is not explained by hypovolemia, acid-bases status, increased viscosity on polycythemia, autonomic nervous system changes, or depressed systolic function. Maximal oxygen uptake at high altitudes has been modeled to be determined by the matching of convective and diffusional oxygen transport systems at a lower maximal cardiac output. However, there has been recent suggestion that 10% to 25% of the loss in aerobic exercise capacity at high altitudes can be restored by specific pulmonary vasodilating interventions. Whether this is explained by an improved maximum flow output by an unloaded right ventricle remains to be confirmed. Altitude exposure carries no identified risk of myocardial ischemia in healthy subjects but has to be considered as a potential stress in patients with previous cardiovascular conditions.
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            Invited review: Physiological and pathophysiological responses to intermittent hypoxia.

            This mini-review summarizes the physiological adaptations to and pathophysiological consequences of intermittent hypoxia with special emphasis given to the pathophysiology associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Intermittent hypoxia is an effective stimulus for evoking the respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic adaptations normally associated with continuous chronic hypoxia. These adaptations are thought by some to be beneficial in that they may provide protection against disease as well as improve exercise performance in athletes. The long-term consequences of chronic intermittent hypoxia may have detrimental effects, including hypertension, cerebral and coronary vascular problems, developmental and neurocognitive deficits, and neurodegeneration due to the cumulative effects of persistent bouts of hypoxia. Emphasis is placed on reviewing the available data on intermittent hypoxia, making extensions from applicable information from acute and chronic hypoxia studies, and pointing out major gaps in information linking the genomic and cellular responses to intermittent hypoxia with physiological or pathophysiological responses.
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              Cardiovascular alterations by chronic intermittent hypoxia: importance of carotid body chemoreflexes.

              1. Humans experiencing intermittent hypoxia (IH) owing to recurrent apnoea syndromes exhibit serious cardiovascular morbidity, including high blood pressure, increased sympathetic nerve activity, cardiac arrhythmia and myocardial infarction. Although apnoeas are accompanied by a simultaneous decrease in arterial O(2) (hypoxia) and an increase in CO(2) (hypercapnia), studies on experimental animals suggest that hypoxia, rather than hypercapnia, is the primary stimulus for developing hypertension and enhanced sympathetic nerve activity. Enhanced hypoxic-sensing ability of the carotid bodies and the ensuing reflex activation of the sympathetic nervous system have been suggested to play a critical role in cardiorespiratory alterations resulting from recurrent apnoeas. 2. The purpose of the present review is to highlight recent studies demonstrating the effects of IH on carotid body sensory activity and its consequences on sympathetic activation in a rodent model of chronic IH. Adult rats exposed to chronic IH (15 s of 5% O(2) followed by 5 min of 21% O(2), nine episodes per h, 8 h/day for 10 days) exhibited selective enhancement of carotid body sensory response to hypoxia. In addition, chronic IH induced a novel form of sensory plasticity in the carotid body, manifested as sensory long-term facilitation (LTF). Functional changes in the carotid body occurred in the absence of morphological changes in the chemoreceptor tissue. 3. Acute hypoxia increased expiratory modulated splanchnic nerve activity (SNA) and acute IH-induced LTF in SNA. Hypoxia-induced SNA activation was prevented by bilateral sectioning of the sinus nerves. Rats exposed to chronic IH exhibited enhanced hypoxia-induced sympathetic activation and augmented LTF of the SNA. Bilateral sectioning of the sinus nerves abolished these responses, suggesting chronic IH-induced alterations in carotid body sensitivity contribute to LTF in SNA and the subsequent cardiovascular alterations.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                11 February 2015
                : 10
                : 339-345
                [1 ]Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
                [2 ]Institute of Veterinary Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Martin Faulhaber, Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, 185 Fürstenweg, Innsbruck 6020, Austria, Tel +43 512 5074 5893, Email martin.faulhaber@
                © 2015 Faulhaber et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                interval hypoxia, blood pressure, cardiovascular responses


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