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Effectiveness of Preacclimatization Strategies for High-Altitude Exposure

Fulco, Charles S.; Beidleman, Beth A.; Muza, Stephen R.

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: January 2013 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 55–63
doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e31825eaa33

Acute mountain sickness (AMS) and large decrements in endurance exercise performance occur when unacclimatized individuals rapidly ascend to high altitudes. Six altitude and hypoxia preacclimatization strategies were evaluated to determine their effectiveness for minimizing AMS and improving performance during altitude exposures. Strategies using hypobaric chambers or true altitude were much more effective overall than those using normobaric hypoxia (breathing, <20.9% oxygen).

Preacclimatization strategies using hypobaric hypoxia attenuate acute mountain sickness and the decrement in endurance exercise performance at high altitudes.

Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

Address for correspondence: Charles S. Fulco, Sc.D., Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division, USARIEM, 42 Kansas St., Natick, MA 01760 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: May 5, 2012.

Associate Editor: Scott J. Montain, Ph.D., FACSM

©2013 The American College of Sports Medicine