Shared Science - Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
WEM and The Journal of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM) participate in a shared science program. This opportunity is made possible through a reciprocal partnership between the journals. Click here to see the JSOM articles selected for WEM readers, please visit:
- With the advent of high-quality portable ultrasound machines, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has gained interest as a promising diagnostic tool for patients with high altitude illness. Although POCUS is used successfully in hospital environments to detect interstitial pulmonary edema and increased intracranial pressure, the relationship between specific sonographic criteria and high altitude illness is still unclear. We report the case of a healthy 32-y-old male who developed acute respiratory distress and neurologic impairment at 4321 m while participating in a high altitude medical research expedition.
- A significant number of climbers on Mount Kilimanjaro are affected by altitude-related disorders. The aim of this study was to determine the main causes of morbidity and mortality in a representative cohort of climbers based on local hospital records.
- We present a case of altered mental status and seizure that occurred at an altitude known to cause high altitude-related illnesses. Based on the presenting symptoms, the patient was initially transferred to the hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of high altitude cerebral edema. On review of imaging and laboratory data, she was found to be experiencing symptomatic hypotonic hyponatremia. This case presented an interesting diagnostic challenge and underscores the importance of maintaining a broad differential diagnosis when evaluating a patient with altered mental status from an alpine setting.