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Avian Surgery!-2014 APS Video Contest

2014 1st Place Video. High altitude climbers face many challenges when scaling the world's highest peaks. Not the least of which is the condition known as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). The lower oxygen content of the air at altitude leads to hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV) resulting from hypoxia. Blood vessels constrict, pressure is increased drastically, and fluid is squeezed out of the capillaries and into the alveoli of the lung! The physiology of Avian lungs on the other hand is uniquely adapted to life at altitude. In particular, avian lungs do not display HPV. Avian lungs consist of multiple air sacs which keep fresh air moving cross-current to capillaries during both inhalation and exhalation. The result of this is significantly improved efficiency in gas exchange as compared with mammalian bellows lungs. These anatomical adaptations not only increase oxygen delivery to tissues, but also allow the animal to live at altitude with no risk of HAPE. This video is a comedic, faux-infomercial featuring the fictional Dr. Seagull's who offers interspecies organ transplant. This surgery is now being marketed as a way to improve one's ability to live at altitude while avoiding the afflictions caused by hypoxia.

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Resource Type: Video
Audience Level: High School lower division (Grades 9-10), High School upper division (Grades 11-12), Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14), Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16), General Public

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Ms. Laura Philbin of San Jose State University Dept. of BIology, Lubaina Elahi of San Jose State University Dept. of Biology
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: No
Cost: No


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