Repeated pre-syncope from increased inspired co2 in a background of severe hypoxia


We describe a case of experimentally induced pre-syncope in a healthy young man when exposed to increased inspired CO2 in a background of hypoxia. Acute severe hypoxia (FIO2=0.10) was tolerated, but adding CO2 to the inspirate caused pre-syncope symptoms accompanied by hypotension and large reductions in both mean and diastolic middle cerebral artery velocity, while systolic flow velocity was maintained. The mismatch of cerebral perfusion pressure and vascular tone caused unique retrograde cerebral blood flow at the end of systole and a reduction in cerebral tissue oxygenation. We speculate that this occurrence of pre-syncope was due to hypoxia-induced inhibition of brain regions responsible for compensatory sympathetic activity to relative hypercapnia. © Copyright 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.

High Altitude Medicine and Biology