Exhaled volatile organic compounds in individuals with a history of high altitude pulmonary edema and varying hypoxia-induced responses

Jennifer A. Figueroa, Jim K. Mansoor, Roblee P. Allen, Cristina E. Davis, William F. Walby, Alexander A. Aksenov, Weixiang Zhao, William R. Lewis, Edward S. Schelegle

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6 Scopus citations


With ascent to altitude, certain individuals are susceptible to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), which in turn can cause disability and even death. The ability to identify individuals at risk of HAPE prior to ascent is poor. The present study examined the profile of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) and pulmonary artery systolic pressures (PASP) before and after exposure to normobaric hypoxia (12% O<inf>2</inf>) in healthy males with and without a history of HAPE (Hx HAPE, n = 5; Control, n = 11). In addition, hypoxic ventilatory response (HVR), and PASP response to normoxic exercise were also measured. Auto-regression/partial least square regression of whole gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) data and binary logistic regression (BLR) of individual GC peaks and physiologic parameters resulted in models that separate individual subjects into their groups with variable success. The result of BLR analysis highlights HVR, PASP response to hypoxia and the amount of benzyl alcohol and dimethylbenzaldehyde dimethyl in expired breath as markers of HAPE history. These findings indicate the utility of EBC VOC analysis to discriminate between individuals with and without a history of HAPE and identified potential novel biomarkers that correlated with physiological responses to hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026004
JournalJournal of Breath Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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