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July 12, 2000

Supplemental Oxygen and Mountaineer Death Rates on Everest and K2

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(2):181. doi:10.1001/jama.284.2.175

To the Editor: The use of supplemental oxygen by Himalayan mountaineers has been debated for more than 8 decades.1 Although sometimes viewed as unsporting, supplemental-oxygen use may improve survival rates by increasing performance and lowering hypoxic stress.13 Analyses of death rates of mountaineers descending from high summits may reveal an impact of supplemental oxygen on survival because descending mountaineers are often near exhaustion and vulnerable to accident, storm, or illness during their descent.

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