Contributions of Griffith Pugh to high altitude and environmental physiology and medicine: a narrative review
Olatunji, Mayowa Atanda
MetadataShow full item record
The high-altitude environment, which is characterized by low ambient temperature, precipitation (rain and snowfall), increased windchill, and hypoxia [low partial pressure of inspired oxygen (PiO2)] caused by decreased barometric pressure poses several challenges for athletes, industrial/commercial workers, military personnel, and researchers. All these factors decrease performance and survival. One famous example of the deleterious impacts of altitude on performance and survival, is human experiences on Mount Everest. The British experienced 30 years of failure in attempting to reach the summit of Everest. However, on the 29th of May, 1953 Everest was successfully climbed. Success on Everest may not have been possible without the indefatigable scientific recommendations and contributions of Dr. Griffith Pugh (pioneer Everest physiologist) who was a major contributor to the field of altitude science in general. The purpose of this review project was to investigate the scientific contributions of Dr. Pugh to the understanding of physiology of performance and injury treatment related to cold and altitude by systematically reviewing all his publications on these topics. We searched Medline database and Web of Science for publications by Lewis Griffith Pugh which revealed 61 and 75 articles respectively. Two reviewers independently screened for all articles that met the inclusion criteria (articles related to altitude, and/or cold physiology, and/or exercise physiology). At the end of the screening process, 61 papers (peer reviewed, n=52; and gray literature, n=9) met the inclusion criteria which were analysed. This narrative review revealed that Pugh was a model of a dedicated researcher who has contributed immensely to the field of high-altitude medicine and environmental physiology by conducting several physiological studies which have earned him significant academic recognition. Pugh had a long storied career among notable researchers. Interestingly, some of his scientific recommendations are still valid and reliable . His scientific work led to many significant practical applications.