Everything Echocardiography Offers - at 4559 Meters Above Sea Level
It has long been known that remaining at high altitudes leads to an increase in pulmonary arterial pressure caused by hypoxia. Its effects on cardiac function have also been considered well documented. The increase in pressure in the pulmonary circulation causes an enlargement of the right ventricle and thereby causes a displacement of the left ventricle that is accompanied by a relaxation disturbance. The early diastolic filling of the left ventricle is reduced correspondingly while atrial filling increases (reduction of E/A ratio). A recent preliminary study found that using medications to normalize pulmonary arterial pressure does lead to an improvement, but not to complete normalization of the E/A ratio. We wanted to use extensive echocardiographic testing to pursue whether remaining at high altitudes directly influences myocardial function and, if so, what the causes could be.