Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 45 Number 4, 2008
   Pages 479 — 488

Abstract - Acute mountain sickness in disability and adaptive sports: Preliminary data

Brad E. Dicianno, MD;1-5* Eric D. Aguila, MD;6 Rory A. Cooper, PhD;1-5 Paul F. Pasquina, MD;6 Mary J. Clark, DO;7 Diane M. Collins, PhD, OTR/L;1,3,5 Shirley G . Fitzgerald, PhD;8 Todd A. Wichman, MD6

1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Departments of 2Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 3Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and 4Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 5Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Center of Excellence in Wheelchairs and Related Technology, Pittsburgh, PA; 6Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC; 7Grand Junction VA Medical Center, Grand Junction, CO; 8Patient Safety Center of Inquiry, James A. Haley Tampa VA Medical Center, Tampa, FL

Abstract — Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a frequent complication for military personnel, veterans, athletes, and travelers at high altitudes. Symptoms may occur in individuals with less cerebrospinal fluid volume and less ability to accommodate increased brain volume. No studies on AMS exist in individuals with neurological impairments. We studied 64 subjects, including active and sedentary controls and those with tetraplegia, paraplegia, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury at the 2007 National Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colorado. Subjects completed three Lake Louise Score surveys to quantify symptoms. We found a higher than expected occurrence of AMS overall (51.6%) but no differences among groups, and few participants sought treatment. Fatigue and weakness were common symptoms. High subject activity levels may explain these findings. More research is warranted on larger sample sizes and on preventative medications and treatments for AMS, especially since many military personnel with neurological impairments are returning to full active service.

Key words: altitude sickness, brain injuries, headache, military, multiple sclerosis, rehabilitation, spinal cord injuries, sports, veterans, visual impairment.

View HTML   ¦    View PDF   ¦    Contents Vol. 45, No.4