Hematological parameters in high altitude residents living at 4,355, 4,660, and 5,500 meters above sea level.

León-Velarde F, Gamboa A, Chuquiza JA, Esteba WA, Rivera-Chira M, Monge CC
High Alt Med Biol. 2000 1 (2): 97-104

PMID: 11256567 · DOI:10.1089/15270290050074233

There have been a number of reports describing the hematological indicators of Andean residents living at altitudes above 4,000 m, but several confounding factors have made the published results difficult to interpret. To clear up the effect of hypoxia on hemoglobin concentration (Hb, g/dL), hematocrit (Hct, %) and red blood cell concentration (RBC, cells/microL), this publication describes and analyzes these variables in children, men, and women from three large and homogeneous populations living at 4,355 m (n = 151), 4,660 m (n = 400), and 5,500 m (n = 273) in the Southern Peruvian Andes. Hb, Hct, and RBC increase with age in men (p < 0.001), as well as in women (p < 0.001) at the three altitudes of the study. In children (boys and girls) living at 5,500, Hb increases 11% when compared with children living at 4,355 m, and in adults, Hb increases 9.6% when comparing the same altitudes. The maximum percentage increase in Hb with age was 5.6% at 5,500 m, in men and 3.2% at 4,355 m, in women. The average percentage of difference for the Hb concentration between adult men and women is 6.6% at 4,355 m, 9.8% at 4,660 m, and 11.6% at 5,500 m. The differences in Hb concentration between men and women can only be seen after puberty. Finally, Hb is higher in older than younger women, which confirms the role of menopause in the development of erythremia. The result of this analysis reinforces the notion that Hb and Hct seem to be stable and useful parameters for acclimatization only at moderate altitudes; with aging or with increasing altitude, they may become excessive and lose their efficiency to protect the venous oxygen pressure.

MeSH Terms (25)

Acclimatization Adolescent Adult Age Factors Altitude Analysis of Variance Child Child, Preschool Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic Erythrocyte Indices Female Hematocrit Hemoglobins Humans Infant Male Menopause Middle Aged Peru Polycythemia Reference Values Residence Characteristics Sampling Studies Sex Characteristics Statistics, Nonparametric

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