December 2007 2007-hypoxia1
Research team scale Everest to find Hypoxia solution

Researchers who measured blood oxygen levels on Mount Everest earlier this year are due to start formally analysing the results after Christmas.

UCLH Charities helped with co-ordinating the £2 million fund for Caudwell Xtreme Everest – an innovative research project being carried out by University College London’s Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme environment medicine.

“Many of the donations had to be placed in a charitable account in order to reclaim tax under the Gift Aid scheme and we were delighted to provide our expertise for this project” says Rachel Wilcox, manager of the Charity. “It was very exciting to be part of this innovative project and we became quite used to receiving emails via satellite from Everest advising us of the team’s progress!” A group of doctors and allied health professionals reached the summit of Mount Everest in May and carried out the first ever blood oxygen measurements at 8,475 metres.

The expedition was the centrepiece of an extensive, continuing programme of research into hypoxia and human performance at extreme altitude, which aims to improve the care of patients with low blood oxygen levels. More than 200 volunteers took part in the three-and-half-week trek, covering their own expedition costs and undergoing 30 minutes of testing each day and a full day’s testing every three or four days. The results were analysed by the 31 researchers who staffed the base camp laboratories.

2007-hypoxia2Extensive work has been carried out since their return. More than 10,000 blood samples have been analysed, together with 2,000 bike tests, 1,000 neurological tests and 4,000 diary entries. Initial results are expected by the end of 2008.

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