High altitude simulation test (HAST)
Learn if you’d benefit from extra safety precautions when you fly or visit high-altitude locations. Take advantage of fast, noninvasive high altitude simulation testing (HAST) at Montage Health’s Cardiopulmonary Wellness Center.
Benefits of HAST
HAST can determine if you should use or carry supplemental oxygen with you when you’re in a plane or travel to a high-altitude area. Supplemental oxygen (oxygen therapy) means you use a portable oxygen tank and mask to inhale (breathe in) extra oxygen. This helps prevent hypoxia, low levels of oxygen in the blood, which can cause:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
Tell your doctor if you experience breathing problems when you fly or travel to high altitudes.
Is HAST right for me?
There are many reasons your doctor may recommend HAST. To be eligible for the test, you must be a non-smoker in stable respiratory condition. If needed, Montage Health offers a smoking cessation program to help you quit and advanced pulmonary care to treat respiratory conditions.
What to expect
Your outpatient appointment will last about 60 minutes and take place at the Cardiopulmonary Wellness Center in Monterey. You don’t need to follow any specific instructions to prepare.
When you arrive, we’ll check your:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate and rhythm
- Oxygen saturation, the level of oxygen in your blood
- Dyspnea rating, or how short of breath you feel
During HAST, you’ll breathe into a mask that simulates the lower oxygen levels you’d experience at high altitude for 20 to 30 minutes. Our team will closely monitor you for any symptoms while you rest and then while you’re active. Then, we’ll again record your vital signs and dyspnea rating.
After your test, you can leave the center and resume your normal activities right away.
How much does it cost?
Contact your insurance provider to learn if your plan covers HAST.
Your test results
Count on our team to send the doctor who ordered your HAST a report that summarizes the results. Your doctor may recommend supplemental oxygen when you fly or visit high-altitude places and instruct you how to use it.