Benjamin D. Levine, MD; Paul A. Grayburn, MD; Wyatt F. Voyles, MD; E. Richard Greene, PhD; Robert C. Roach; Peter H. Hackett, MD
Rapid ascent to altitude in susceptible persons may result in severe hypoxemia, pulmonary hypertension, and even pulmonary edema. This life-threatening syndrome affects approximately 1% of climbers who rapidly ascend to more than 3000 m (1). The underlying mechanisms for this problem have yet to be determined. We used bubble contrast and Doppler echocardiography on 12 climbers at 4200 m on Mount McKinley, Alaska, to test the hypothesis that a patent foramen ovale may provide an avenue for right-to-left shunting during high-altitude-induced hypoxia and pulmonary hypertension, resulting in disproportionate hypoxemia and contributing to the development of high-altitude pulmonary edema.
Levine BD, Grayburn PA, Voyles WF, Greene ER, Roach RC, Hackett PH. Intracardiac Shunting across a Patent Foramen Ovale May Exacerbate Hypoxemia in High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema. Ann Intern Med. ;114:569–570. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-7-569
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(7):569-570.
Cardiology, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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