Improvement in hypoxemia at 4600 meters of simulated altitude with carbohydrate ingestion

Nancy P. Lawless, Thomas A Dillard, Kenneth G. Torrington, H. Quigg Davis, Gary Kamimori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Carbohydrate ingestion increases the relative production of carbon dioxide which results in an increase in ventilation in normal individuals. An increase in ventilation at altitude can result in improvement of altitude-induced hypoxemia. Hypothesis: Carbohydrate ingestion will increase the arterial blood oxygen tension and oxyhemoglobin saturation during acute high altitude simulation. Methods: There were 15 healthy volunteers, aged 18-33 yr, who were given a 4 kcal · kg-1 oral carbohydrate beverage administered 2.5 h into an exposure to 15,000 ft (4600 m) of simulated altitude (5.5 h after the last meal). Altitude was simulated by having subjects breath a 12% oxygen/balance nitrogen mixture while remaining at sea level. Arterial blood gas samples were drawn at baseline and at regular intervals up to 210 min after carbohydrate ingestion. Subjects were evaluated for AMS by use of the Environmental Symptoms Questionnaire (ESQ) and a weighted average of cerebral symptom score (AMS-C). Results: Baseline PRO2 increased significantly (p < 0.01) from 43,0 ± 3.0 mmHg at 4600 m before carbohydrate ingestion to 46,8 ± 6.2 mmHg at 60 min after carbohydrate ingestion. Arterial oxygen saturation rose significantly (p < 0.01) from a baseline of 79.5% ± 5.1 to 83.8% ± 6.42 at 60 min. Conclusions: Carbohydrate consumption significantly increased oxygen tension and oxyhemoglobin saturation in arterial blood of normal subjects during simulated altitude. Effects reached statistical significance across all subjects at 60 min. There was no significant difference in arterial oxygen levels or arterial oxygen saturation in subjects who developed AMS vs. those who did not develop AMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-878
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute mountain sickness
  • Altitude
  • Carbohydrate
  • Hypoxia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Medicine(all)


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