Durango Performance Center is excited to be invovled with Fort Lewis College Exercise Science students, Josh McDowell, Alex Kilman, Maddie Kruger and Gus Allen,  in research of the relationship between pulmonary hypertension at altitude and endurance performance.

This research is significant for the understanding how pulmonary resistance plays a role in aerobic performances at high altitudes, perhaps shed light over the different altitude exercise-related responses among individuals.

The research testing is planned to take place during the 2014 Winter semester (February - April), with final conclusions and poster presentation at the end of the semester. Recruiting will be announced timely.

Durango Performance Center would like to thank the research students invloved and the FLC Exercise Science department for their collaboration, especially Dr. Melissa Knight-Maloney. 



Preliminary Research Description:


            Research has established that hypoxic pulmonary hypertension will result from acute exposure to high altitude (Modesti et al, 2006; Kojonazarov et al., 2012). Acute exposure to high altitude is known to cause a decrease in athletic endurance specifically cardiovascular performance. Therefore, pulmonary hypertension can be linked to cardiovascular performance during acute exposure to high altitude. When performing at high levels of altitude, pulmonary hypertension results in the increase of blood pressure throughout pulmonary structures in the body. This is a contributing factor that can lead to a myocardial infarction. Although there are some factors leading to pulmonary hypertension, the first signs indicate differences in pressure and resistance.

Swenson finds that Hypoxic Pulmonary Vasoconstriction “is the earliest mechanism that elevates pulmonary artery pressures (PA) and pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) with hypoxic or high altitude exposure.” This vasoconstriction of the pulmonary arteries during acute exposure to high altitude leads to pulmonary hypertension which is measured through an echocardiogram to identify a possible increase in arterial pressure. As the test subjects perform different tests at low, medium and high altitudes it is to be seen that pulmonary hypertension may be consistent with cardio­­­­vascular performance.

Statement of Hypothesis

            Pulmonary hypertension resulting from acute exposure to high altitude will cause a decrease in athletic performance.

Statement of Purpose

            The purpose of this study is to establish a relationship between pulmonary hypertension and athletic performance at high altitude.

Statement of Problem

            The problem is whether or not high altitude pulmonary hypertension has an adverse effect on athletic performance.

Statement of Significance

            This study is significant because individuals/athletes competing at high altitudes will experience/respond physiologically in a variety of ways that can affect their athletic performance. Research is showing that pulmonary hypertension resulting from acute exposure to high altitudes could be a key player in declined athletic performance. Few, if any, studies have examined this relationship of athletes’ performance at high altitude compared to low altitude.