A Gasping Heart

Cardiac quirk may worsen sleep apnea, invite altitude sickness

By Ben Harder, 15:56 PM April 15, 2008

A common imperfection in the structure of the heart may worsen breathing difficulties in people who have sleep apnea and provoke a life-threatening condition called high-altitude pulmonary edema in mountaineers who ascend too quickly. In both scenarios, new studies suggest, the cardiac abnormality contributes to a rapid drop in the blood's oxygen content.

In newborn babies, the wall of tissue that separates the left and right sides of the heart has a small opening called the foramen ovale. Us...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/gasping-heart?mode=magazine&context=602