Ge Ri-Li, MD, PhD; Paul J. Chase, MEd; Sarah Witkowski, MS; Brenda L. Wyrick, BSN; Jeff A. Stone, DO; Benjamin D. Levine, MD; Tony G. Babb, PhD
Acknowledgments: The authors thank all laboratory staff, hypobaric chamber staff, and biochemistry laboratory technicians for their contributions and support.
Grant Support: By the U.S. Wilderness Medical Society and the American Lung Association (CI-015-N).
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Tony G. Babb, PhD, Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, 7232 Greenville Avenue, Suite 435, Dallas, TX 75231.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Ri-Li: Institute of High Altitude Medicine, Qinghai Medical College, 16 Kunlun Road, Xining, Qinghai 180001, China.
Mr. Chase, Ms. Witkowski, Ms. Wyrick, and Drs. Stone, Levine, and Babb: Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, 7232 Greenville Avenue, Suite 435, Dallas, TX 75231.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: G. Ri-Li, B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: G. Ri-Li, B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Drafting of the article: G. Ri-Li, T.G. Babb.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Final approval of the article: B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Provision of study materials or patients: B.L. Wyrick, J.A. Stone, B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Statistical expertise: B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Obtaining of funding: G. Ri-Li, B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Administrative, technical, or logistic support: P.J. Chase, S. Witkowski, J.A. Stone, B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Collection and assembly of data: P.J. Chase, S. Witkowski, B.D. Levine, T.G. Babb.
Although few retrospective studies of high altitude have reported that obesity might be associated with the development of acute mountain sickness (AMS), this association has not been studied prospectively.
To determine whether obesity is associated with the development of AMS.
Obese and nonobese men were compared at a simulated altitude of 3658 m (12 000 ft).
24 hours in a hypobaric environmental chamber.
9 obese and 10 nonobese men.
Percentage body fat (by hydrostatic weighing), Lake Louise AMS score, and Sao2 level (by pulse oximetry) were measured.
Average AMS scores increased more rapidly with time spent at simulated high altitudes for obese men than for nonobese men (P < 0.001). The response of Sao2 with exposure differed between nonobese and obese men. After 24 hours in the altitude chamber, seven obese men (78%) and four nonobese men (40%) had AMS scores of 4 or more.
Obesity seems to be associated with the development of AMS, which may be partly related to greater nocturnal desaturation with altitude exposure.
Ge Ri-Li, Paul J. Chase, Sarah Witkowski, Brenda L. Wyrick, Jeff A. Stone, Benjamin D. Levine, et al. Obesity: Associations with Acute Mountain Sickness. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:253–257. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-4-200308190-00007
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(4):253-257.
Emergency Medicine, Obesity, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
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