Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
Dale R. Wagner
The purpose of this study was to determine if arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2), as measured by a finger pulse oximeter upon rapid arrival to 4260 m, could be predictive of acute mountain sickness (AMS) or summit success on a climb to 5640 m. In total 73 climbers volunteered to participate in the study. After excluding those taking drugs to counteract the effects of AMS and those with missing data, 48 participants (45 male, 3 female) remained. Climbers were transported from 2650 m to the Piedra Grande hut at 4260 m on Pico de Orizaba within 2 hr. After a median time of 10 ± 13 hr at the hut, they climbed toward the summit (5640 m) and returned with a median trip time of 13.3 ± 4.8 hr. The Lake Louise Self-assessment Questionnaire (LLSA) for AMS, heart rate, and SaO2 from a finger pulse oximeter was collected upon arrival at the hut, repeated immediately before the climbers departed for their summit attempts, and immediately upon their return. The presence of AMS was defined as a LLSA score ≥ 3 with a headache and at least one other symptom. Fifty-nine percent of the participants successfully reached the summit. Average SaO2 for all participants at 4260 m prior to their departure for the summit was 84.2 ± 3.8%. Sixty percent of the participants met the criteria for AMS during their ascent. There was not a significant difference (p = .90) in SaO2 between those who experienced AMS (SaO2 = 84.3 ± 3.3%) and those who did not (SaO2 = 84.2 ± 4.2%) during the ascent. Neither was there a significant difference (p = .18) in SaO2 between those who reached the summit (84.8 ± 3.7%) and those who did not (83.3 ± 4.0%). Arterial oxygen saturation does not appear to be predictive of AMS or summit success.
Knott, Jonathan R., "Arterial Oxygen Saturation as a Predictor of Acute Mountain Sickness and Summit Success among Mountianeers" (2010). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 674.