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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2001;502:377-99.

Interval hypoxic training.

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Clinica Medica 1, Universita di Pavia-IRCCS, Ospedale S. Matteo, Italy.


Interval hypoxic training (IHT) is a technique developed in the former Soviet Union, that consists of repeated exposures to 5-7 minutes of steady or progressive hypoxia, interrupted by equal periods of recovery. It has been proposed for training in sports, to acclimatize to high altitude, and to treat a variety of clinical conditions, spanning from coronary heart disease to Cesarean delivery. Some of these results may originate by the different effects of continuous vs. intermittent hypoxia (IH), which can be obtained by manipulating the repetition rate, the duration and the intensity of the hypoxic stimulus. The present article will attempt to examine some of the effects of IH, and, whenever possible, compare them to those of typical IHT. IH can modify oxygen transport and energy utilization, alter respiratory and blood pressure control mechanisms, induce permanent modifications in the cardiovascular system. IHT increases the hypoxic ventilatory response, increase red blood cell count and increase aerobic capacity. Some of these effects might be potentially beneficial in specific physiologic or pathologic conditions. At this stage, this technique appears interesting for its possible applications, but still largely to be explored for its mechanisms, potentials and limitations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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