UCL News


Press cutting: Gasping for air on Everest to help the patients back home

29 March 2007

Fearless females from a West family are preparing to ride exercise bikes and do star jumps near the top of the world in a bid to boost the survival rates of intensive care patients.

Scientists believe that by studying how the human body starts breaking down in extreme conditions they will be able to do more to save critically ill patients who often die of hypoxia, low oxygen levels in the blood, rather than the disease they are suffering from. …

After two days of tests in Kathmandu, the women will be flown to the foothills of Everest where they will spend days walking and scrambling from 9,317 foot to the 17,225 ft base camp medical centre. …

Most of the 200 volunteers will follow an identical route to base camp and back, and nine children are also doing a mini version of the expedition to help paediatricians understand more about childhood respiratory problems.

But a small team of mountaineering medics hope to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain so they can carry out the first tests to measure oxygen levels in the human blood while on the top of the world.

Doctors at the UCL Centre for Altitude, Space & Extreme Environment Medicine, who are organising the expedition, say the tests will be more realistic than those using special altitude chambers. …

Janet Hughes, 'Western Daily Press'