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November 23, 1984

Arterial O2 Saturation and Maximum O2 Consumption in Moderate-Altitude Runners Exposed to Sea Level and 3,050 m

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics (Drs Tucker and Stager) and Physical Education (Dr Cordain), Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

JAMA. 1984;252(20):2867-2871. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350200053024

Twelve trained runners, who were moderate-altitude (1,520 m) residents, were acutely exposed to sea level and 3,050-m altitude in a hypo-hyperbaric chamber. At 1,520 m, maximum O2 consumption (V̇o2max) was 67.7±0.9 mL/kg/min, minute ventilation (V) at maximum exercise was 169.8 ± 4.6 L/min, and arterial O2 saturation (Sao2) decreased from 93.3% ±0.9% at rest, to 84.5% ±1.6% at maximum exercise. Exposure to 3,050 m produced a lower Vo2max (56.5±1.5, —16.5%), a similar V̇ at maximum exercise (169.9 ± 6.0), and a similar fall in Sao2 (from 89.1%±0.8% to 79.5%±0.8%). Exposure to sea level increased V̇o2max to 72.4±1.4 (+6.9%), reduced V̇ at maximum exercise to 158.8 ±6.5, and induced a smaller fall in Sao2 (from 96.9% ±0.4% to 92.1%± 1.0%). These changes are comparable with those reported previously in athletes at sea level exposed to similar altitudes, suggesting that residence at 1,520 m does not improve V̇o2max in highly trained athletes acutely exposed to lower or higher altitudes.

(JAMA 1984;252:2867-2871)