Month: February 2013

Xtreme Everest – Going to Extremes to Understand Critical Illness

En route to Everest Base Camp
En route to Everest Base Camp

Intensive care represents the knife edge between life and death and extreme illnesses require cutting edge research to provide solutions. Despite intensive care being one of the most sophisticated areas of hospital care, hypoxia – lack of oxygen reaching the body’s vital organs – is a common problem for patients in an intensive care unit. Approximately 80% of people in intensive care suffer hypoxia and until this can be controlled they can’t be treated effectively. For both scientific and ethical reasons it’s difficult to conduct research on critical care patients. In response to this, Xtreme Everest, a not-for-profit organisation led by doctors and scientists from University College London Hospital, University of Southampton and Duke University in the US, is conducting an innovative research project which uses the shortage of oxygen experienced at high altitudes to simulate the hypoxia that affects people in intensive care. (more…)

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