News & Features — 6 May 2014 at 3:58 pm

APEX 4 – high altitude research expedition

Thirty students and alumni from the University of Edinburgh are to travel to Chacaltaya, Bolivia, to carry out research into altitude illness and the physiological effects of altitude and hypoxia on the human body.

The APEX 4 (Altitude Physiology Expeditions) team will conduct several studies at more than 5,300m aiming to shed new light on potentially fatal conditions that can strike at high altitude.

The two week-long expedition, which departs from the UK at the end of May, is the fourth such research trip to Bolivia by students from Edinburgh, following the inception of APEX in 2000.

Following from the work of the 2011 APEX 3 expedition, the current expedition will use portable ultrasound scanners to measure sub-clinical pulmonary oedema in the volunteers. The group will also measure changes in gene expression, coagulation, cardiac function and optic nerve sheath diameter at high altitude, and the influence of cardiac defects on the severity of altitude illness.

Adventure Medic’s Matt Wilkes and Ellie Heath will be volunteering as the expedition doctors on the trip and would like to thank Edinburgh Emergency Medicine for their invaluable support.

To follow the progress of the expedition, check the expedition website or their facebook page.