Objective. To determine if there is a difference between the cardiorespiratory response of children who chronically live at high altitude (Aymaras and non-Aymaras) compared to children that arrive as tourist at a high altitude of 3500 m (Putre, Chile).
Subjects. Children (Aymaras and non-Aymaras) who were born and live in Putre and children who came to the same location for a tourist visit.
Materials and Methods. Oxygen saturation (%) and heart rate (HR, bpm) were evaluated by pulse oxymetry in children from Putre.
Results. Similar levels of oxygen saturation were observed among chronic Aymaras and non-Aymara children. A lower oxygen saturation was found in children with acute exposure when compared with chronic children (p<0.0001). The HR of Aymaras and nonAymara chronic children was lower than that observed in the non-native children (p<0.05). In contrast acute children had a higher HR than chronic children (p<0.001). Negative relationships were observed with correlation values (p<0.01) between oxygen saturation and HR in all groups.
Conclusion. Chronic Aymara children exhibited a higher slope and correlation between oxygen saturation vs HR compared to chronic children who are non-Aymaras, suggesting that chronic natives are more sensitive to hypoxia. And, chronic non-Aymara children have an early blunting response to hypoxia. Further studies are needed to understand the physiological mechanisms in this population group.