Incidence of High Altitude Illnesses among Unacclimatized Persons Who Acutely Ascended to Tibet
Ren, Yusheng, Zhongming Fu, Weimin Shen, Ping Jiang, Yanlin He, Shaojun Peng, Zonggui Wu, and Bo Cui. Incidence of high altitude illnesses among unacclimatized persons who acutely ascended to Tibet. High Alt. Med. Biol. 11:39-42, 2010.-High altitude illnesses pose health threats to unwary travelers after their acute ascent to high altitude locations. The incidence of high altitude illnesses among unacclimatized persons who acutely ascend to Tibet has not been previously reported. In the present study, we surveyed the incidence of high altitude illness among 3628 unacclimatized persons who had no previous high altitude experience and who traveled to Tibet by air to an altitude of 3600 m. These subjects were asked to answer questions in a written questionnaire about symptoms associated with high altitude illnesses that occurred within 2 weeks of their first arrival, their severity, and possible contributing factors. Physical examination and appropriate laboratory tests were also performed for hospitalized subjects. We found that 2063 respondents had mild acute mountain sickness with an incidence of 57.2%, and 249 (12.07%) of them were hospitalized for treatment. The incidence of high altitude pulmonary edema was 1.9%, while no case of high altitude cerebral edema was found. Additionally, there was no report of death. Psychological stresses and excessive physical exertions possibly contributed to the onset of HAPE. Acute mountain sickness is common among unacclimatized persons after their acute ascent to Tibet. The incidence of HAPE and HACE, however, is very low among them.
acute mountain illnesses
public, environmental & occupational health