Royal Free Hospital team return from Everest research trip into effects of low oxygen

Dr Dan Martin, of the Royal Free Hospital, on Everest during the medical expedition

Dr Dan Martin, of the Royal Free Hospital, on Everest during the medical expedition - Credit: Archant

A senior consultant at the Royal Free Hospital has returned from leading a medical expedition to Everest in a bid to improve care for critically ill patients.

Dr Daniel Martin, who is a senior lecturer and honorary consultant in anaesthesia and critical care medicine at University College London and the Royal Free, led Xtreme Everest 2.

The trek was an investigation into the effects of low oxygen levels on people at high altitudes.

The experiments involved performance testing on 200 volunteers on exercise bikes and the collection of blood, saliva, hair, urine, nasal swabs and muscle samples.

The team have brought 15,000 samples back to the UK.

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Dr Martin said: “Everyone responds to low levels of oxygen in different ways, which is a big problem for us in intensive care.

“However, if you can survive low levels of oxygen at altitude at the top of a mountain, perhaps you can still function normally with low oxygen levels as a patient in intensive care.”

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He spoke publicly about the trek to members of the hospital trust on August 8.

“We have a huge data analysis plan ahead but hope to start publishing results from this trek in the next 12 months,” said Dr Martin.

“Conducting these sorts of scientific tests of such complexity was a real challenge in the conditions we faced. “Collecting this data is the beginning of a long journey and we hope it will ultimately lead to improved care of critically ill patients.”

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