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Sea-Level Assessment of Dynamic Cerebral Autoregulation Predicts Susceptibility to Acute Mountain Sickness at High Altitude

Cochand, Nicholas J., Wild, M., Brugniaux, J. V., Davies, P. J., Evans, K. A., Wise, Richard Geoffrey and Bailey, D. M. 2011. Sea-Level Assessment of Dynamic Cerebral Autoregulation Predicts Susceptibility to Acute Mountain Sickness at High Altitude. Stroke 42 (12) , pp. 3628-3630. 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.621714

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Background and Purpose—Dynamic cerebral autoregulation is impaired in subjects who develop acute mountain sickness (AMS), a neurological disorder characterized by headache. The present study examined if the normoxic sea-level measurement of dynamic cerebral autoregulation would predict subsequent susceptibility to AMS during rapid ascent to terrestrial high altitude. Methods—A dynamic cerebral autoregulation index was determined in 18 subjects at sea level from continuous recordings of middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (Doppler ultrasonography) and arterial blood pressure (finger photoplethysmography) after recovery from transiently induced hypotension. Six hours after passive ascent to 3800 m (Mt Elbrus, Russia), the Lake Louise and Environmental Symptoms Cerebral Symptoms questionnaires were used to assess AMS. Results—AMS scores increased markedly at high-altitude (Lake Louise: +3±2 points, P=0.001 and Environmental Symptoms Cerebral Symptoms: +0.6±0.9 points, P=0.0003 versus sea level). Inverse relationships were observed between the sea-level autoregulation index score and the high-altitude-induced increases in the Lake Louise (r=−0.62, P=0.007) and Environmental Symptoms Cerebral Symptoms (r=−0.78, P=0.01) scores. One subject with a history of high-altitude pulmonary and cerebral edema presented with the lowest sea-level autoregulation index score (3.7 versus group: 6.2±1.0 points) and later developed high-altitude cerebral edema at 4800 m during the summit bid. Conclusions—These findings suggest that a lower baseline autoregulation index may be considered a potential risk factor for AMS. This laboratory measurement may prove a useful screening tool for the expedition doctor when considering targeted pharmacological prophylaxis in individuals deemed “AMS-susceptible".

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: acute mountain sickness; dynamic cerebral autoregulation; high-altitude; individual susceptibility; vasogenic edema
Additional Information: Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 19/02/2014).
Publisher: American Heart Association
ISSN: 0039-2499
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:47

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