The greatest concerns in flight for most of the 732 million US passengers that traveled by plane in 2012 were likely to be a lack of overhead storage or legroom. Low air pressures at high altitudes can pose serious health risks for passengers who have respiratory conditions and require oxygen supplementation.
What is Altitude Simulation?
According to FAA flight regulations, aircraft cabins are pressurized at 8,000 to 10,000 feet. This means that, compared to sea level conditions, the amount of breathable (including oxygen) in the air is about 6% lower than it would be if they were located at sea level. Although healthy passengers will not be affected, passengers with impaired lung function may need additional oxygen to combat chest pains, shortness, or other hypoxia-related symptoms.
The standard order calls for a simulation altitude of 8,000ft. This is the same atmospheric pressure found in a commercial plane’s cabin. This simulation is not intended to simulate different altitudes. Simulating other altitudes is possible (E.g., Aspen, etc.) If ordered by the patient’s doctor.
This test will allow the patient’s doctor to determine the best treatment
However, estimating is not the exact diagnosis that doctors and patients want, especially when flying at 30,000 feet. Many hospitals offer high altitude simulation testing (HAST), which simulates the number of oxygen patients will inhale while on a flight or at high elevation locations. Although many testing methods are available, the most common is to have patients inhale a low FiO2 mixture of 14% to 15% oxygen. This simulates altitude. The patient’s oxygen saturation is monitored by technologists using a pulse oximeter. If the SpO2 levels fall below a threshold, an arterial blood sample may be taken to verify. Additional oxygen is then titrated until the patient has acceptable oxygenation levels. If there are any cardiopulmonary issues, the test will be stopped immediately, and the patient should undergo a CP examination. This article deal with What is Altitude Simulation.
How can the patient prepare for the High Altitude Simulation Test
- Comfortable clothes are recommended.
- Do not take the patient’s medication differently than the patient would normally.
What happens during the HAST?
The technician will explain each test. Ask the technician if the patient has any questions.
- During the test
- Some spirometry breath tests will be performed.
- A pulse oximeter will monitor the patient’s oxygen levels.
- An arterial line may be placed on the patient’s wrist to measure oxygen levels during the test.
After these monitors have been installed, the patient will be able to inhale through a mask for approximately 20 minutes while measuring oxygen levels. These results will allow the patient to continue breathing into a mask for 20 more minutes while inhaling oxygen through an air cannula.
What is the time frame for the High Altitude Simulation Test?
The HAST test usually takes two hours, but some people take longer.
Instructions for post-test care of the arterial catheter site There is no heavy lifting during the rest of the patient day. The bandage should be left on for at least 30 minutes. Take off the bandage and examine the area for bleeding signs. Apply firm pressure for 10 to 15 minutes if the patient notices any bleeding or lumps under the patient’s skin. If bleeding continues and the patient is still at the clinic, please return to Pulmonary Physiology Services to be evaluated by a supervisor. If bleeding continues and the patient is not feeling well, immediately go to an emergency room. Now we are clear about What is Altitude Simulation?