Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!

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. -via Digg

(image credit: Pavel Novak)

There's something dodgy about their claims IMHO. Either their test methodology was faulty (for instance, perhaps they didn't properly account for the roughly 35% change in atmospheric pressure from the altitude where they took the samples to where the readings were made) or they knew that measuring a gas at different pressures would produce these results and are just looking for some suckers to help fund their hobby.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'm suprised medical scientist didn't consider the implications of the lower-pressured atmosphere at high altitudes. I'm sure that has something to do with it.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Climbing a mountain is not a sudden thing. There is no sudden drop in blood oxygen levels.The body has time to adjust and compensate.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
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.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
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.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 10 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"Lowest Blood Oxygen Levels Ever Recorded"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More