Introduction to Altitude Medicine: Part One


This lecture provides an overview of the physiological effects of high altitude on the human body and introduces the various forms of altitude illness that can occur.

Liz Wood, draws upon her experience working as an expedition doctor on high altitude mountaineering trips to discuss the prevention, recognition, and treatment of acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), and high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

Practical tips are provided on acclimatisation schedules and pharmacological prophylaxis and treatment with acetazolamide and dexamethasone. The lecture is aimed at healthcare professionals and others travelling to high altitude environments who need to be able to prevent and manage altitude-related illnesses.

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More Information

Length: 33m
Categories: Lectures

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lecture, participants should be able to:

1. Describe the physiological changes that occur in the body at increasing altitudes due to the drop in partial pressure of oxygen.

2. Explain the process and time course of acclimatisation to high altitude.

3. List the risk factors for developing acute mountain sickness (AMS) and describe its typical clinical features.

4. Utilise the Lake Louise Score to assess the severity of AMS.

5. Discuss appropriate treatment options for mild and moderate-to-severe AMS, including acetazolamide, dexamethasone, and portable hyperbaric chambers.

6. Recognise the signs and symptoms of high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and the importance of rapid descent as an emergency treatment.

7. Describe an appropriate ascent profile to reduce the risk of developing altitude illness based on current guidelines.

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