Chronic mountain sickness

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Background

  • Excessive polycythemia for a given altitude (Hgb >20)
  • Occurs in patients living at high-altitude who have COPD, sleep apnea or impaired respiratory drive

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

High Altitude Illnesses

Evaluation

Expected SpO2 and PaO2 levels at altitude[1]

Altitude SpO2 PaO2 (mm Hg)
1,500 to 3,500 m (4,900 to 11,500 ft) about 90% 55-75
3,500 to 5,500 m (11,500 to 18,000 ft) 75-85% 40-60
5,500 to 8,850 m (18,000 to 29,000 ft) 58-75% 28-40

Management

  • Phlebotomy
  • Relocation to lower altitude
  • Home O2 use

See Also

References

  1. Gallagher, MD, Scott A.; Hackett, MD, Peter (August 28, 2018). "High altitude pulmonary edema". UpToDate. Retrieved May 2, 2019.