There is very little data on heart happens to heart rate and, more importantly, the hearts rhythm during the ascent to extreme altitude. There is good reason for this as until recently performing measurements of the heart’s electrical activity (as an electrocardiogram, ECG) during exercise has been very difficult.
In conjunction with Medtronic we will use very small implantable ECG monitors in the team climbing to the summit of Dhaulagiri. This will enable us to upload the electrical pattern of each heart beat via a satellite phone for analysis in the UK.
The information from this study will give valuable information about heart performance in healthy individuals at extremes of oxygen deprivation and will provide insight into what happens with heart disease limiting oxygen supply to the heart muscle.