You are currently viewing What Happens Due To Hypoxia ? – Mnemonic

Here is a quick mnemonic “WHAT HAPPENS to remember about physiology and effects of hypoxia

This can be valuable for patients as well as medical doctors, nurses & students doing their clinical rounds. You can also find it very useful for med exams like USMLE, NExT Medical Step 1&2, MBBS, NEET PG, INI-CET, FMGE,MCAT & NCLEX exams

What Happens Due To Hypoxia ? : How To Remember Easily ?

  • W – When oxygen availability decreases, oxidative phosphorylation is inhibited.
  • H – Hypoxia leads to a switch from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism, known as the Pasteur effect.
  • A – ATP production decreases due to inadequate energy supply during severe hypoxia.
  • T – The insufficient ATP leads to cell membrane depolarization and uncontrolled influx of Ca2+.
  • H – Hypoxia induces the upregulation of genes encoding various proteins, including glycolytic enzymes.
  • A – Adaptations to hypoxia involve the production of growth factors like VEGF and erythropoietin.
  • P – Pulmonary vascular smooth-muscle cells experience depolarization due to inhibition of K+ channels.
  • P – Pulmonary arterial constriction occurs, shunting blood away from poorly ventilated portions of the lung.
  • E – Effects on the CNS include impaired judgment, motor incoordination, and symptoms resembling alcohol intoxication.
  • N – Neurological consequences of hypoxia include high-altitude illness and potential development of cerebral edema.
  • S – Severe hypoxia affects the regulatory centers of the brainstem, leading to respiratory failure.


Dr. Arin Nandi

Passionate About Medical Science & Helping Future Doctors Achieve Top Ranks In Medical Exams. He is professionally a dentist as well as a public health expert from JIPMER (1), (2)working in health department