Hetzler, R. K., Sargent, R. W., Kimura, I. F., Burgess, L., LaBotz, M., Nichols, A., & Nakasone, K. (2006). The effect of a cyclic variable altitude conditioning program on arterial oxygen saturation acclimation. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 2733.

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This study examined the effect of a cyclic variable altitude conditioning program involving intermittent hypoxic exposure at sea level, using a portable hypobaric chamber, on arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) at the following altitudes: 2740, 3660, 4570, 5490, and 6,400 m. Aerobically trained Ss (N = 8) completed a hypoxic training protocol that progressively exposed them to higher altitudes. Ss acclimated for one hour per day, five days per week, for seven weeks. The highest altitude was 3,200 m in the first week, 4,420 m in the third week, and progressed to 6,860 m for the final three weeks of exposure. Arterial oxygen saturation values were determined using a pulse oximeter equipped with an ear sensor prior to beginning the conditioning program (week 1) and after week 3, prior to week 4 and after week 7 of conditioning.

There were significant differences between arterial oxygen saturation values between weeks 1 and 3, and weeks 4 and 7.

Implication. Cyclic variable altitude conditioning significantly increased arterial oxygen saturation.

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