Hemodilution of polycythemic mountaineers: Effects on exercise and mental function

F. H. Sarnquist, Robert Blair Schoene, P. H. Hackett, B. D. Townes

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12 Scopus citations


The authors studied the effects of acute, isovolemic hemodilution on the exercise ability and mental function of four polycythemic mountain climbers (mean hematocrit 58 ± 1.25%) during the American Medical Research Expedition to Mt. Everest (AMREE). The subjects were studied at 5400 m (PB = 400 mm Hg). Approximately 15% of their blood volume was removed and replaced with an equal volume of 5% human albumin solution. Final hematocrits were 50.5 ± 1.5%. Before and after hemodilution, the subjects performed psychological and exercise tests. Maximum work level, oxygen uptake, minute ventilation, and blood oxygen saturation did not change. After hemodilution, heart rate increased slightly at all work levels, and there was a small but significant improvement on the psychological tests. It is concluded that this degree of hemodilution was well tolerated and that a hematocrit of greater than 50% conferred on advantage for exercise and may have impaired cerebral function. Although, in these circumstances, isovolemic hemodilution improved cerebration, the authors feel that this potentially hazardous maneuver is rarely indicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-317
Number of pages5
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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