The exercising heart at altitude

  • José A. L. CalbetEmail author
  • Paul Robach
  • Carsten Lundby
Multi-author Review


Maximal cardiac output is reduced in severe acute hypoxia but also in chronic hypoxia by mechanisms that remain poorly understood. In theory, the reduction of maximal cardiac output could result from: (1) a regulatory response from the central nervous system, (2) reduction of maximal pumping capacity of the heart due to insufficient coronary oxygen delivery prior to the achievement of the normoxic maximal cardiac output, or (3) reduced central command. In this review, we focus on the effects that acute and chronic hypoxia have on the pumping capacity of the heart, particularly on myocardial contractility and the molecular responses elicited by acute and chronic hypoxia in the cardiac myocytes. Special emphasis is put on the cardioprotective effects of chronic hypoxia. (Part of a multi-author review.)


Hypoxia Contractility Cardiac output Nitric oxide Cardioprotection Infarct Oxygen Adenosine 



The authors express their gratitude to James P. Fisher for his careful revision of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • José A. L. Calbet
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paul Robach
    • 3
    • 4
  • Carsten Lundby
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Physical EducationUniversity of Las Palmas de Gran CanariaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSpain
  2. 2.The Copenhagen Muscle Research CentreCopenhagen NDenmark
  3. 3.Ecole Nationale de Ski et d’AlpinismeChamonixFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire “Réponses cellulaires et fonctionnelles à l’hypoxie”EA 2363, ARPEBobignyFrance
  5. 5.Department of Sport ScienceÅrhus UniversitetÅrhus NDenmark

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