Consensus Statement on Chronic and Subacute High Altitude Diseases

THE PARTIAL PRESSURE OF OXYGEN in inspired air falls with increasing terrestrial elevation above sea level. As a consequence of the hypobaric hypoxic environments, human residents at high altitudes develop numerous physiologic responses, including, in particular, increases in hemoglobin concentration [Hb] and pulmonary artery pressure. In severely hypoxic residents, large increases in Hb and/or pulmonary artery pressure may be associated with potentially fatal illnesses. However, a uniform description of these illnesses has been lacking, with the result that nomenclatures and diagnostic criteria have varied over time and in different high altitude regions of the world. Also contributing to a confusing medical picture is that the altitude-related illnesses are often of insidious onset and have multiple manifestations, which may vary among individuals. In economically depressed and rural areas, health policies, diagnostic procedures, and treatment regimens often do not reflect state-of-the-art knowledge.

Download full article as PDF