Several months ago, I shared some information about the effects of hypoxia. I included a video, which showed not only how hypoxia may present itself, but how the hypoxic person may be oblivious to the effects. I also shared information regarding the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD2), a system manufactured solely by Environics under a Navy patent, and how this system is used in military training to allow practical training with lower expense. You can review these articles here and here.
To refresh your memory, hypoxia is a condition brought on due to inadequate oxygen and the symptoms can include any combination of the following symptoms: dizziness, tingling in the skin, headache, racing heart, changes in vision, and bluish tint to the lips. Military personnel are not the only people who experience hypoxic conditions though. In a study presented at the 2010 ASMA conference, researchers examined the use of the ROBD2 on a sample group of 36 civilians (“The Use of the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD) in a General Civilian Sample, Pulse Oximetry Means and Ranges,” a presentation of research by Leonard A. Temme, Ph.D. and David L. Still, O.D., Ph.D. of U. S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Dennis Reeves, Ph.D., and Rebecca Browning, B.S. of Clinvest, Banyan Group, Inc.; full presentation available here).
Civilians who are most likely to experience hypoxia include those flying in private or commercial aircraft, undergoing aviation training, using hypoxia training strategies for athletic improvements and Travel/tourism.
The researchers found that:
• Pulse rate increased with ROBD simulated altitude
• % blood oxygen between-subject variability increases with ROBD
• Pulse rate between-subject variability unaffected by ROBD simulated
• BMI positively correlated with pulse rate @ all altitudes
• BMI inversely correlated with %O2 at 8,000 and 12,000 ft
In summary, the study found that the ROBD2 could successfully be used for civilian training and “does what it says it does.” The only alteration made was to replace the military style respirator with a non-military equivalent.