Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 50 Number 2, 2013
   Pages 253 — 262

Abstract — Acute mountain sickness in athletes with neurological impairments

Deepan C. Kamaraj, MD;1–3 Brad E. Dicianno, MD;1–4* Rory A. Cooper, PhD;1–5 John Hunter, MD;6 Jennifer L. Tang7

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Center of Excellence in Wheelchairs and Related Technology, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Human Engineering Research Laboratories, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 3Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 4Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and 5Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 6Department of Internal Medicine, Grand Junction VA Medical Center, Grand Junction, CO; 7George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

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.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 50, No. 2
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Kamaraj DC, Dicianno BE, Cooper RA, Hunter J, Tang JL. Acute mountain sickness in athletes with neurological impairments. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(2):253–62.

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, April 23, 2013 9:33 AM

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