Document Detail

Altitude-related cough.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17196414     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Cough is a troublesome condition which affects many visitors to high altitude. Traditionally it has been attributed to the inspiration of the cold, dry air which characterizes the high altitude environment. This aetiology was brought into question by observations and experiments in long duration hypobaric chamber studies in which cough still occurred despite controlled temperature and humidity. Anecdotally however, exercise, possibly via the associated increase in ventilation, does appear to precipitate cough at altitude. It is likely that the term, altitude-related cough, covers a number of conditions and aetiologies. These aetiologies are discussed and include water loss from the respiratory tract; high altitude pulmonary oedema; acute mountain sickness; bronchoconstriction; respiratory tract infections; vasomotor rhinitis and post-nasal drip; and alterations in the central control of respiration. We hypothesize that there are two forms of altitude-related cough: a cough which may occur at relatively low altitudes and which is related to exercise and persists despite descent and a cough which does not occur at altitudes below 5000-6000 m and which improves rapidly with descent to lower altitude. The treatment of altitude-related cough is symptomatic and frequently ineffective. Further work is required to understand the nature and aetiology of the cough which occurs at high altitude before effective therapies can be developed.
Nicholas P Mason; Peter W Barry
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review     Date:  2006-11-16
Journal Detail:
Title:  Pulmonary pharmacology & therapeutics     Volume:  20     ISSN:  1094-5539     ISO Abbreviation:  Pulm Pharmacol Ther     Publication Date:  2007  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-09     Completed Date:  2007-06-26     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9715279     Medline TA:  Pulm Pharmacol Ther     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  388-95     Citation Subset:  IM    
Critical Care Medicine Directorate, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Acute Disease
Altitude Sickness / physiopathology
Cough / drug therapy,  etiology*,  physiopathology
Respiratory Tract Diseases / drug therapy,  etiology*,  physiopathology
Water Loss, Insensible

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