High Altitude Simulation Testing

Your doctor has suggested you have a High Altitude Simulation Test as part of the evaluation at National Jewish Health. A High Altitude Simulation Test (HAST) is a test to determine if you need supplemental oxygen when you fly on an airplane or go to a higher altitude.

The standard order is for a simulated altitude of 8,000 feet, which is the same atmospheric pressure as the cabin of a commercial airplane. The simulation of various altitudes is not done in a barometric chamber. Other altitudes can be simulated (E.g. Aspen, etc.) if ordered by your health care provider.

This test will help your doctor determine the best treatment for you.


Preparing for the Test

  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Take your medication as you usually do.


During the Test

The technician will explain what you need to do during each test. If you have questions during the tests, please ask the technician.

  • You will do some spirometry breathing tests.
  • Your oxygen saturation will be monitored with a pulse oximeter on your finger.
  • You may also have blood samples drawn during the test.

Once these monitors are in place, you will breathe into a mask for about 20 minutes while we measure your oxygen level. Based on these results you may breathe into a mask for another 20 minutes while using supplemental oxygen.


Length of the Test

The HAST test often takes 2 hours to complete, although sometimes people stay longer.


Day of the Test

On the day of your scheduled test, report to room A310a in the Pulmonary Physiology Service (PPS). PPS is located on the 3rd floor of the May building. If you have questions please call the Pulmonary Physiology Services at 303.398.1530.


This information has been approved by Amy L. Olson, MD, MSPH and Becky Kolenbrander, RRT, RPFT, AE-C (October 2014).