High-altitude disorders: pulmonary hypertension: pulmonary vascular disease: the global perspective.

Pasha MA, Newman JH
Chest. 2010 137 (6 Suppl): 13S-19S

PMID: 20522576 · DOI:10.1378/chest.09-2445

Globally, it is estimated that > 140 million people live at a high altitude (HA), defined as > 2,500 m (8,200 ft), and that countless others sojourn to the mountains for work, travel, and sport. The distribution of exposure to HA is worldwide, including 35 million in the Andes and > 80 million in Asia, including China and central Asia. HA stress primarily is due to the hypoxia of low atmospheric pressure, but dry air, intense solar radiation, extreme cold, and exercise contribute to acute and chronic disorders. The acute disorders are acute mountain sickness (also known as soroche), HA cerebral edema, and HA pulmonary edema (HAPE). Of these, HAPE is highly correlated with acute pulmonary hypertension. The first chronic syndrome described in HA dwellers in Peru was chronic mountain sickness (Monge disease), which has a large component of relative hypoventilation and secondary erythrocytosis. The prevalence of chronic mountain sickness in HA dwellers ranges from 1.2% in native Tibetans to 5.6% in Chinese Han; 6% to 8% in male residents of La Paz, Bolivia; and 15.6% in the Andes. Subacute mountain sickness is an exaggerated pulmonary hypertensive response to HA hypoxia occurring over months, most often in infants and very young children. Chronic pulmonary hypertension with heart failure but without hypoventilation is seen in Asia. Not only does HA pulmonary hypertension exact health consequences for the millions affected, but also the mechanisms of disease relate to pulmonary hypertension associated with multiple other disorders. Genetic understanding of these disorders is in its infancy.

MeSH Terms (6)

Altitude Altitude Sickness Global Health Humans Hypertension, Pulmonary Polymorphism, Genetic

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