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Wilderness Environ Med. 2006 Winter;17(4):221-8.

Variables contributing to acute mountain sickness on the summit of Mt Whitney.

Author information

1
Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-7000, USA. dale.wagner@usu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The interaction of 15 variables representing physical characteristics, previous altitude exposure, and ascent data was analyzed to determine their contribution to acute mountain sickness (AMS).

METHODS:

Questionnaires were obtained from 359 volunteers upon reaching the summit of Mt Whitney (4419 m). Heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation were measured with a pulse oximeter, and AMS was identified by Lake Louise Self-Assessment scoring. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify significant protective and risk factors for AMS.

RESULTS:

Thirty-three percent of the sample met the criteria for AMS. The odds of experiencing AMS were greater for those who reported a previous altitude illness (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.00, P < .01) or who were taking analgesics during the ascent (adjusted OR = 2.09, P < .01). Odds for AMS decreased with increasing age (adjusted OR = 0.82, P < .0001), a greater number of climbs above 3000 m in the past month (adjusted OR = 0.92, P < .05), and use of acetazolamide during the ascent (adjusted OR = 0.33, P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The significant determinants of AMS on the summit of Mt Whitney were age, a history of altitude illness, number of climbs above 3000 m in the past month, and use of acetazolamide and analgesics during ascent.

PMID:
17219785
DOI:
10.1580/pr43-05.1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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