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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1987 Sep;63(3):1262-7.

Operation Everest II: coagulation system during prolonged decompression to 282 Torr.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University Health Sciences Centre, Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Thromboembolic phenomena may occur as humans ascend to high altitude. To investigate the role of the coagulation cascade and its inhibitors in these disorders, venous blood was obtained from eight subjects who participated in the Operation Everest II project. Samples were obtained before and 5 min after completion of a progressive incremental exercise test to exhaustion at sea level and atmospheric pressures of 380 (18,000 ft) and 282 Torr (25,000 ft). Plasma was analyzed for the activity or concentration of factors II, V, VII, VIII complex, IX-XIII, prekallikrein, high-molecular-weight kininogen, fibrinogen, antithrombin III, alpha 2-macroglobulin, alpha 2-antiplasmin, C1-esterase inhibitor, alpha 1-antitrypsin, and protein C. Prolonged exposure to simulated high altitude did not alter the concentration of any of the coagulation factors or inhibitors. Exercise increased the circulating concentrations of the factor VIII complex at sea level, 380, and 282 Torr. However, the increment was less at the simulated high altitudes. The increase in the factor VIII complex was inversely related to arterial O2 saturation and directly related to the work load achieved and blood pH and plasma lactate concentrations. These studies suggest that the gradual development of marked chronic hypoxia does not affect the coagulation cascade.

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