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Hypoxia in flight simulation in obese patients with or without COPD
PDPI Lampung & Bengkulu, 19 Okt 2017 16:50:58
Hypoxia in flight simulation in obese patients with or without COPD

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Christina Priegnitz1, Marcel Treml1, Norbert Anduleit1, Matthias Putzke2, Jrgen Wenzel2 and Winfried J. Randerath1
1Wissenschaftliches Institut, Krankenhaus Bethanien gGmbH, Solingen, Germany, 2Insitut fr Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Deutsches Zentrum fr Luft- und Raumfahrt, Kln, Germany

Introduction: Passengers traveling in an aircraft are exposed to decreased atmospheric and O2 partial pressure, leading to reduced blood O2 saturation (SpO2). COPD patients, depending on disease severity, are highly susceptible for resulting hypoxia due to gas exchange impairments. Since concomitant obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m) may be associated with ventilation-perfusion mismatch, this could lead to further aggravation of hypoxia. We asked how SpO2 is influenced in simulated flight in obese COPD patients compared with healthy obese.

Methods: 19 obese participants (8 healthy, 11 COPD patients) were exposed to simulated flight conditions using hypoxia altitude simulation test (HAST, inhaled 15.1% O2) and hypobaric chamber test (760 mbar, HCT). Lowest stable SpO2 was measured.


Healthy COPD p
n/female 8/4 11/4
Age (years) 42 (37;46) 60 (49;65) .019
BMI (kg/m) 36 (34;39) 33 (30;36) .160
SpO2 at rest (%) 98 (97;98) 95 (93;96) .001
HAST SpO2 (%) 93 (92;95) 88 (87;90) .006
HCT SpO2 (%) 90 (89;92) 89 (87;89) .026
  • Shown are median and interquartile range. P value from Mann-Whitney-U test.

  • HAST- and HCT-SpO2 values of COPD patients were mostly <90% (8/11 & 9/11 respectively). In healthy obese these numbers were 0/8 & 3/8.

    Discussion: Most obese COPD patients experience relevant hypoxia in simulated flight supporting the demand for pre-flight testing to assess ability to fly and recommend O2 supplementation where necessary. Obesity alone without significant pulmonary disease does not result in relevant SpO2 decrease (<90%) during flight simulation. However, healthy subjects in this study had a maximal BMI <40kg/m and were younger, impairing generalization of results and affecting comparability with the COPD group, respectively.

    Source : http://erj.ersjournals.com/content/48/suppl_60/PA645
    Image : http://sinarharapan.co/foto_berita/...
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