Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiolo...

7th Edition
Des Jardins + 1 other
ISBN: 9781337794909



Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiolo...

7th Edition
Des Jardins + 1 other
ISBN: 9781337794909
Textbook Problem

When an individual is subjected to a high altitude for a prolonged period of time, which of the following is (are) seen?

1. An increased red blood cell production

2. A decreased Pa co 2

3. Anincreased P (A-a)o 2

4. A decreased alveolar ventilation

A. 1 and 3 only

B. 2 and 4 only

C. 3 and 4 only

D. 1, 2, and 3 only

Summary Introduction


Alveolar ventilation is the exchange of gases in the alveoli of the lungs. The oxygen is taken in while breathing and transported to the alveoli, where oxygen gas is exchanged with carbon dioxide from the blood. The concentration of carbon dioxide is more than oxygen in the blood. The oxygen binds with hemoglobin and it is circulated throughout the body.


Justification/explanation for the correct answer:

Option (D) is given as “1, 2, and 3 only.” The exchange of gases takes place in the alveoli part of the lungs. Alveolar ventilation depends upon the difference in atmospheric air pressure and the pressure in the alveoli.

When a person is exposed to high altitude, alveolar ventilation decreases. The partial pressure of oxygen goes down along with its diffusion into the alveoli, which results in increased alveolar-arterial oxygen tension difference (P(A-a)O2).

The prolonged exposure of an individual to the low concentration of oxygen can also cause polycythemia condition, where it stimulates the secretion of erythropoietin hormone. This hormone instructs the increased production of RBC (red blood cell) from the bone marrow. The level of Pa CO2(partial pressure of carbon dioxide) decreases at high altitudes causing respiratory alkalosis. This condition helps in increasing the uptake of oxygen by red blood cells. Hence, option (d) is correct

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