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Chest. 1978 Oct;74(4):372-6.

High altitude pulmonary edema. Epidemiologic observations in Peru.


The incidence of high altitude pulmonary edema was examined by a survey (via questionnaire) of residents living at 3,750 meters (12,303 feet) in the mining community of La Oroya, Peru. Ninety-seven subjects made a total of 1,157 ascents to high altitude after a stay at sea level of longer than 14 days. Sixty-four subjects experienced at least one episode of high-altitude pulmonary edema. The incidence was higher in subjects aged 13 to 20 years, where 17 percent (15) of 90 ascents resulted in episodes of high-altitude pulmonary edema, than in subjects 21 years or older (3 percent; 18/686 ascents). Young subjects (2 to 12 years old) had more severe episodes of high-altitude pulmonary edema (81 percent; 30/37 episodes) than adults (22 percent; 4/18 episodes). No episodes were observed in children under two years old. Five subjects under 21 years of age experienced recurrent episodes. Our estimated incidence of severe episodes of high altitude pulmonary edema per ascent in adults (0.6 percent; 4/686) is similar to that reported by other workers (incidence of 0.15 to 0.57 percent) in various parts of the world.

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