Climbing, hiking, and skiing in the Cascade Mountains are just some of the perks of living in the Pacific Northwest.
But high-altitude exercise carries some health risks, particularly for older men with a history of heart disease who are unaccustomed to intense physical activity. Medical researchers report high altitudes may increase the likelihood of cardiac arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death while skiing or hiking at higher elevations is a common cause of death in men over the age of 34.
This issue is top of mind for Cardiac Insight, a Kirkland company that has developed Cardea SOLO — a wearable, wireless electrocardiogram sensor that analyzes, monitors, and detects adult arrhythmias.
In May, veterans and active military members from Team USX joined a physician and researchers from Cardiac Insight to put Cardea SOLO to an extreme test — namely, travel to Alaska and climb the 20,310-foot-tall Denali to gather high-altitude cardiac data.
“We were able to easily secure a large amount of data,” said Dr. David R. Ohlson, an accomplished climber and filmmaker who was part of the Denali expedition team. “The data we captured will help provide new insights into how frequently abnormal heart rhythms occur in healthy individuals at high altitude and give us a model for larger studies in the future.”