Individuals with a prior history of (susceptible to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE-S) have high resting pulmonary arterial pressures, but little data are available on their vascular response to exercise. We studied the pulmonary vascular response to exercise in seven HAPE-S and nine control subjects at sea level and at 3,810 m altitude. At each location, both normoxic (inspired PO2 = 148 Torr) and hypoxic (inspired PO2 = 91 Torr) studies were conducted. Pulmonary hemodynamic measurements included pulmonary arterial and pulmonary arterial occlusion pressures. A multiple regression analysis demonstrated that the pulmonary arterial pressure reactivity to exercise was significantly greater in the HAPE-S group. This reactivity was not influenced by altitude or oxygenation, implying that the response was intrinsic to the pulmonary circulation. Pulmonary arterial occlusion pressure reactivity to exercise was also greater in the HAPE-S group, increasing with altitude but independent of oxygenation. These findings suggest an augmented flow-dependent pulmonary vasoconstriction and/or a reduced vascular cross-sectional area in HAPE-S subjects.
- Copyright © 1996 the American Physiological Society