Document Detail

Physiology and pathophysiology with ascent to altitude.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20442648     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
With increasing altitude, there is a fall in barometric pressure and a progressive fall in the partial pressure of oxygen. Acclimatization describes the physiologic changes that help maintain tissue oxygen delivery and human performance in the setting of hypobaric hypoxemia. These changes include a marked increase in alveolar ventilation, increased hemoglobin concentration and affinity, and increased tissue oxygen extraction. In some individuals, these physiologic changes may be inadequate, such that the sojourn to altitude and the attendant hypoxia are complicated by altitude-associated medical illness. The rate of ascent, the absolute change in altitude, and individual physiology are the primary determinants whether illness will develop or not. The most common clinical manifestations of altitude illness are acute mountain sickness, high altitude pulmonary edema, and high altitude cerebral edema.
Biff F Palmer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of the medical sciences     Volume:  340     ISSN:  1538-2990     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Med. Sci.     Publication Date:  2010 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-07-08     Completed Date:  2010-08-05     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370506     Medline TA:  Am J Med Sci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  69-77     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Acclimatization / physiology*
Altitude Sickness / physiopathology*
Atmospheric Pressure
Body Weight
Brain Edema / etiology,  physiopathology
Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
Pulmonary Edema / etiology,  physiopathology
Respiratory Physiological Processes*

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