Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
phrenic nerve paralysis on right side
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phrenic nerve paralysis on right side

My husband and I currently live at sea level.  We have another home at 5,000 feet.  Could I live there full time or do I have to stay at sea level?
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I cannot provide a yes or no answer because phrenic nerve diaphragmatic paralysis results in a wide range of severity of impaired gas exchange and oxygenation.  For example, in some instances, damage to the nerve as can happen with some types of local anesthesia or surgery, can result in acute respiratory failure.  I presume that your lung function is adequately compensated to provide adequate oxygenation in the course of performing the activities of daily living, at sea level.  A quick estimate of your body’s ability to compensate could be made by the use of oximetry to measure your oxygen saturationat at rest and with exertion at sea level.  If the value remained in the mid to high 90’s you could probably do well at 5,000 feet..  Were the values to drop significantly, that would be suspicious and answering your question would likely require blood gas measurements.

Another rough indicator would be your history of responses to low inspired oxygen delivery while flying with a commercial airline.  The average cabin adjustment is on an average, around 7,000 feet.  You would at least be able to know how you feel at that altitude at rest.

Without objective measurements at rest and with exercise, at level or 5000 feet, however, it would not be possible to answer your question.

Good luck
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