Volume 50 Number 2, 2013
Pages 253 — 262
Abstract — Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a symptom complex noticed commonly among high altitude travelers. The occurrence of AMS depends on multiple factors that have been studied extensively. However, AMS in individuals with neurological impairments has not been considered in detail. A total of 168 subjects, including active controls, inactive controls, and those with spinal cord injury (SCI), multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), were studied at the National Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colorado, from 2007 to 2009 for the occurrence of AMS. Lake Louise Score was used to quantify symptoms. A higher than anticipated occurrence of AMS (42.85%) among the study population was noted, with significantly higher Lake Louis Scores among athletes with neurological impairments. Disability group, prior history of AMS, and prior occurrence of headache at high altitude could be used as predictors for the development of AMS symptoms. More research is warranted specifically targeting the interaction between factors affecting AMS and the pathophysiology of neurological impairments like SCI and TBI to further our understanding about prophylactic medications and treatments for AMS, especially because many military personnel with neurological impairments continue on Active Duty.
Key words: acute mountain sickness, altitude sickness, AMS, disability, Lake Louis Score, multiple sclerosis, neurological impairments, paraplegia, spinal cord injury, sports, tetraplegia, traumatic brain injury, veterans.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Tuesday, April 23, 2013 9:33 AM