European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 88, Issue 6, pp 506–514

Austrian Moderate Altitude Study 2000 (AMAS 2000). The effects of moderate altitude (1,700 m) on cardiovascular and metabolic variables in patients with metabolic syndrome

  • Wolfgang Schobersberger
  • Peter Schmid
  • Monika Lechleitner
  • Serge P. von Duvillard
  • Helmut Hörtnagl
  • Hanns-Christian Gunga
  • Anton Klingler
  • Dietmar Fries
  • Karl Kirsch
  • Reinhard Spiesberger
  • Rochus Pokan
  • Peter Hofmann
  • Fritz Hoppichler
  • Gebhard Riedmann
  • Holger Baumgartner
  • Egon Humpeler
Original Article

Abstract.

We investigated the changes in the cardiovascular system [resting blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR), measured by means of a 24-h ambulatory BP and a holter-electrocardiogram (ECG)], glycemic parameters, and lipid metabolism of subjects suffering from metabolic syndrome during a 3-week sojourn at 1,700 m in the Austrian Alps. A total of 22 male subjects with metabolic syndrome were selected. Baseline investigations were performed at Innsbruck (500 m above sea level). During the 3-week altitude stay the participants simulated a holiday with moderate sports activities. Examinations were performed on days 1, 4, 9, and 19. After returning to Innsbruck, post-altitude examinations were conducted after 7–10 days and 6–7 weeks, respectively. The 24-h ambulatory BP and holter ECG revealed a decrease in average HR, BP, and rate pressure product (RPP: systolic blood pressure × HR) after 3 weeks of altitude exposure. In some patients, an increase in premature ventricular beats was observed at the end compared to the beginning of the exposure to moderate altitude. The ECG revealed no ischemic ST-segment changes. Maximal physical capacity as measured by symptom-limited maximal cycle ergometry tests remained unchanged during the study. Six weeks after the altitude exposure the blood pressure increased again and returned to pretest levels. The Homeostasis Model Assessment index, which is a measure of insulin resistance, decreased significantly and glucose concentrations obtained after an oral glucose tolerance test were significantly lower after the stay at altitude compared to the basal values. We conclude that after a 3-week exposure to moderate altitude, patients with metabolic syndrome (1) tolerated their sojourn without any physical problems, (2) exhibited short-term favorable effects on the cardiovascular system, and (3) had significant improvements in glycemic parameters that were paralleled by a significant increase in high-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol.

Altitude Hypertension Obesity Coronary heart disease Metabolic syndrome 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Schobersberger
    • 2
  • Peter Schmid
    • 3
  • Monika Lechleitner
    • 4
  • Serge P. von Duvillard
    • 5
  • Helmut Hörtnagl
    • 6
  • Hanns-Christian Gunga
    • 1
  • Anton Klingler
    • 7
  • Dietmar Fries
    • 2
  • Karl Kirsch
    • 1
  • Reinhard Spiesberger
    • 8
  • Rochus Pokan
    • 8
  • Peter Hofmann
    • 9
  • Fritz Hoppichler
    • 10
  • Gebhard Riedmann
    • 11
  • Holger Baumgartner
    • 12
  • Egon Humpeler
    • 13
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologie, Zentrum für Weltraummedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Arnimallee 22, 14105 Berlin, Germany
  2. 2.Klinische Abteilung für Allgemeine und Chirurgische Intensivmedizin der Klinik für Anästhesie und Intensivmedizin, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  3. 3.Rehabilitations- und Kurzentrum "Austria", 4701, Bad Schallerbach, Austria
  4. 4.Universitätsklinik für Innere Medizin, Universitätsklinik Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  5. 5.Human Performance Laboratory, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA
  6. 6.Institut für Sport- und Kreislaufmedizin, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  7. 7.Labor für Theoretische Chirurgie, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  8. 8.Institut für Sportwissenschaften, Universität Wien, Austria
  9. 9.Institut für Sportwissenschaften, Karl-Franzens-Universität, Graz, Austria
  10. 10.Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brüder, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
  11. 11.Österreichische Gesellschaft für Alpin- und Höhenmedizin, 6900 Bregenz, Austria
  12. 12.Institut für Biochemische Pharmakologie, Universität Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  13. 13.IHS-Institut Humpeler/Schobersberger Forschungsinstitut für Urlaubs- und Freizeitmedizin sowie Gesundheitstourismus, 6900 Bregenz, Austria

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