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Published Online: 30 December 2009

Pulmonary-Artery Pressure and Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Bolivian and Caucasian High Altitude Dwellers

Publication: High Altitude Medicine & Biology
Volume 9, Issue Number 4

Abstract

Schwab, Marcos, Pierre-Yves Jayet, Thomas Stuber, Carlos Salinas, Jonathan Bloch, Hilde Spielvogel, Mercedes Villena, Yves Allemann, Claudio Sartori, and Urs Scherrer. Pulmonary-artery pressure and exhaled nitric oxide in Bolivian and Caucasian high altitude dwellers. High Alt. Med. & Biol. 9:295–299, 2008.—There is evidence that high altitude populations may be better protected from hypoxic pulmonary hypertension than low altitude natives, but the underlying mechanism is incompletely understood. In Tibetans, increased pulmonary respiratory NO synthesis attenuates hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. It has been speculated that this mechanism may represent a generalized high altitude adaptation pattern, but direct evidence for this speculation is lacking. We therefore measured systolic pulmonary-artery pressure (Doppler echocardiography) and exhaled nitric oxide (NO) in 34 healthy, middle-aged Bolivian high altitude natives and in 34 age- and sex-matched, well-acclimatized Caucasian low altitude natives living at high altitude (3600 m). The mean ± SD systolic right ventricular to right atrial pressure gradient (24.3 ± 5.9 vs. 24.7 ± 4.9 mmHg) and exhaled NO (19.2 ± 7.2 vs. 22.5 ± 9.5 ppb) were similar in Bolivians and Caucasians. There was no relationship between pulmonary-artery pressure and respiratory NO in the two groups. These findings provide no evidence that Bolivian high altitude natives are better protected from hypoxic pulmonary hypertension than Caucasian low altitude natives and suggest that attenuation of pulmonary hypertension by increased respiratory NO synthesis may not represent a universal adaptation pattern in highaltitude populations.

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cover image High Altitude Medicine & Biology
High Altitude Medicine & Biology
Volume 9Issue Number 4December 2008
Pages: 295 - 299
PubMed: 19115913

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Published online: 30 December 2008
Published in print: December 2008

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Marcos Schwab
Department of Internal Medicine and Botnar Centre for Extreme Medicine, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Pierre-Yves Jayet
Department of Internal Medicine and Botnar Centre for Extreme Medicine, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Thomas Stuber
Swiss Cardiovascular Center Bern, University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.
Carlos E. Salinas
Instituto Boliviano de Biología de Altura, La Paz, Bolivia.
Jonathan Bloch
Department of Internal Medicine and Botnar Centre for Extreme Medicine, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Hilde Spielvogel
Instituto Boliviano de Biología de Altura, La Paz, Bolivia.
Mercedes Villena
Instituto Boliviano de Biología de Altura, La Paz, Bolivia.
Yves Allemann
Swiss Cardiovascular Center Bern, University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland.
Claudio Sartori
Department of Internal Medicine and Botnar Centre for Extreme Medicine, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Urs Scherrer
Department of Internal Medicine and Botnar Centre for Extreme Medicine, University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland.

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