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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Non-invasive measurement of circulation time using pulse oximetry during breath holding in chronic hypoxia.

Pulse oximetry during breath-holding (BH) in normal residents at high altitude (3510 m) shows a typical graph pattern. Following a deep inspiration to total lung capacity (TLC) and subsequent breath-holding, a fall in oxyhemoglobin saturation (SaO(2) is observed after 16 s. The down-pointed peak in SaO(2) corresponds to the blood circulation time from the alveoli to the finger where the pulse oximeter probe is placed. This simple maneuver corroborates the measurement of circulation time by other methods. This phenomenon is even observed when the subject breathes 88% oxygen (PIO(2) = 403 mmHg for a barometric pressure of 495 mmHg). BH time is, as expected, prolonged under these circumstances. Thus the time delay of blood circulation from pulmonary alveoli to a finger is measured non-invasively. In the present study we used this method to compare the circulation time in 20 healthy male high altitude residents (Group N with a mean hematocrit of 50%) and 17 chronic mountain sickness patients (Group CMS with a mean hematocrit of 69%). In the two study groups, the mean circulation time amounted to 15.94 +/-2.57 s (SD) and to 15.66 +/-2.74 s, respectively. The minimal difference was not significant. We conclude that the CMS patients adapted their oxygen transport rate to the rise in hematocrit and blood viscosity.[1]


  1. Non-invasive measurement of circulation time using pulse oximetry during breath holding in chronic hypoxia. Zubieta-Calleja, G.R., Zubieta-Castillo, G., Paulev, P.E., Zubieta-Calleja, L. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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