Lowest Blood Oxygen Levels Ever Recorded

Medical researchers went to Mount Everest and took samples of their own blood while near the peak. What they found was shocking!
An average person at sea level has about 13-14 kilopascals (kPa) of oxygen in their bloodstream, University College of London medical researcher Dan Martin says. When his intensive care patients drop to around 8 kPa he gets very worried, and a normal person with 6 kPa of oxygen faces almost certain death. Imagine his shock, then, when he and three colleagues on the top of Mount Everest measured their own blood oxygen level to be between 2.5 and 4 kPa, the lowest ever measured in live people.

Martin and his colleagues -all experienced climbers- also took muscle biopsies while on the mountain. They hope their findings may lead to knowledge that will help patients in intensive care, where sudden oxygen drops can lead to death. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health_medicine/4298495.html -via Digg

(image credit: Pavel Novak)

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Not necessarily foolish. Extra information never hurts. It's possible the body releases a chemical at such low pressures that allows the body to absorb oxygen at low pressures and release it when the pressure difference may not be substantial. Changes in the relative affinity of the hemoglobin for oxygen. Fetal hemoglobin, for example, has a higher affinity for oxygen than adult hemoglobin, allowing the fetus to steal oxygen more effectively from the mother.
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The other commenters have made some excellent points. I'd just like to add that an individual in intensive care is either extremely sick or badly injured. Comparing that half-dead person's low blood oxygen to that of a healthy mountain climber whose body has had several weeks to adapt to high altitude and who is also experiencing one adrenalin rush after another seems foolish in the extreme.
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