High-altitude exposure has been well recognized as a hypoxia exposure that significantly affects cardiovascular function. However, the pathophysiologic adaptation of cardiovascular system to high-altitude hypoxia (HAH) varies remarkably. It may depend on the exposed time and oxygen partial pressure in the altitude place. In short-term HAH, cardiovascular adaptation is mainly characterized by functional alteration, including cardiac functional adjustments, pulmonary vascular constriction, transient pulmonary hypertension, and changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF). These changes may be explained mainly by ventilatory acclimatization and variation of autonomic nervous activity. In long-term HAH, cardiovascular adaptation is mainly characterized by both functional and structural alterations. These changes include right ventricle (RV) hypertrophy, persistent pulmonary hypertension, lower CBF and reduced uteroplacental and fetal volumetric blood flows.
Part of the book: Hypoxia and Human Diseases