Reach Us +44-1753390542
Investigating the Molecular Causes of Mild In-flight Hypoxia | OMICS International
ISSN: 2165-7548
Emergency Medicine: Open Access
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700+ peer reviewed, Open Access Journals that operates with the help of 50,000+ Editorial Board Members and esteemed reviewers and 1000+ Scientific associations in Medical, Clinical, Pharmaceutical, Engineering, Technology and Management Fields.
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Conferenceseries Events with over 600+ Conferences, 1200+ Symposiums and 1200+ Workshops on Medical, Pharma, Engineering, Science, Technology and Business
All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.

Investigating the Molecular Causes of Mild In-flight Hypoxia

Jochen Hinkelbein1* and Stefanie Jansen2

1Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University Hospital Cologne, Cologne, Germany

2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

*Corresponding Author:
Jochen Hinkelbein
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine
University Hospital Cologne, Cologne, Germany
Tel: +491718231385
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: August 13, 2016; Accepted Date: August 14, 2016; Published Date: August 22, 2016

Citation: Hinkelbein J, Jansen S (2016) Investigating the Molecular Causes of Mild In-flight Hypoxia. Emerg Med (Los Angel) 6:e146. doi:10.4172/2165-7548.1000e146

Copyright: © 2016 Hinkelbein J, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License; which permits unrestricted use; distribution; and reproduction in any medium; provided the original author and source are credited.

Visit for more related articles at Emergency Medicine: Open Access


In-flight hypoxia is a clinically and scientifically well-known problem when travelling in an airplane. Usually cabin altitude (i.e., the altitude corresponding to the cabin pressure) is equivalent to 7,000 ft or 2,400 m in many commercial aircrafts. In a healthy travelling passenger, exposure to this altitude results in a slightly decreased oxygen saturation (SpO2) of approximately 90-94%. From a clinical point of view, reduced cabin pressure results both in reduced arterial oxygen partial pressure (paO2) and oxygen saturation (SpO2) and can sometimes be the cause of in-flight medical emergencies (IFME) [1-3].

However, when having pre-existing diseases, resulting oxygenation can be lower and cause significant emergencies. Especially patients with pre-existing cardiac or pulmonary diseases are at a high risk of developing critical problems during flight [2]. Most common in-flight medical emergencies are syncope or presyncope (37.4%), respiratory symptoms (12.1%), nausea, or vomiting (9.5%) and cardiac symptoms (7.7%) [1]. At least cardiac or respiratory problems can be aggravated by reduced surrounding pressure and reduced SpO2. Since the partial pressure of oxygen is lower in a pressurized aircraft than at sea level, supplemental oxygen can be helpful in case of emergency [1].

On the other hand, it is well known that severe hypoxia leads to activation of different signalling cascades and pathways around the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) [4]. HIF regulates the expression of genes involved in angiogenesis, cellular energy metabolism, and cell survival and is active also during cancer development [5]. Genomic studies recently identified several genes that underlie high-altitude adaptive phenotypes, many of which are central components of the Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) pathway [6].

However, very little is known on mild intermittent hypoxia. Whereas pathologies and clinical causes leading to emergencies are well-known today, molecular processes induced or inhibited by mild hypoxia in an airliner cabin are nearly unknown and not investigated properly. To understand altered molecular pathways and signalling cascades during mild in-flight hypoxia, future research should focus on this topic and should use broad and unspecific methods to identify alterations in protein expression. Besides already known proteins, many yet unknown proteins may also be associated with cellular regulation processes during and after mild hypobaric hypoxia.

Today, proteomics using 2D-gel electrophoresis (2-DIGE), mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF), and statistical bioinformatic methods are most suited to identify alterations in (cellular) protein expression and could give detailed insight into signalling pathways and affected cascades.

To our knowledge, no study yet analysed serum by proteomics of travelling passengers. Therefore, future research should use these methods to shed light into the dark of mild in-flight hypoxia and inflight medical emergencies.


Select your language of interest to view the total content in your interested language
Post your comment

Share This Article

Article Usage

  • Total views: 9151
  • [From(publication date):
    September-2016 - Jun 18, 2019]
  • Breakdown by view type
  • HTML page views : 9050
  • PDF downloads : 101