in flight simulation in obese patients with or without COPD
Christina Priegnitz1, Marcel Treml1, Norbert Anduleit1, Matthias
Putzke2, Jrgen Wenzel2 and Winfried J. Randerath1
Institut, Krankenhaus Bethanien gGmbH, Solingen, Germany, 2Insitut
fr Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin, Deutsches Zentrum fr
Luft- und Raumfahrt, Kln, Germany
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.
|SpO2 at rest (%)
|HAST SpO2 (%)
|HCT SpO2 (%)
HAST- and HCT-SpO2 values of COPD patients were mostly
(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.
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