Time course of asymptomatic interstitial pulmonary oedema at high altitude

Pierre Bouzat, Guillaume Walther, Thomas Rupp, Gregory Doucende, Jean François Payen, Patrick Levy, Samuel Verges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The time course of asymptomatic pulmonary oedema during high-altitude exposure and its potential relationship with changes in cardiac function remain to clarify.Eleven volunteers were rapidly exposed to 4350. m during a 4-day period. Each subject received clinical examination and thoracic ultrasonography to assess ultrasound lung comets (USLC) on day 1, 2 and 3 after arrival. Echocardiography was performed on day 2 and 4 at 4350. m.All subjects had a significant increase in the number of USLC on day 1 (n= 8 ± 3), day 2 (n= 7 ± 4) and day 3 (n= 3 ± 2) compared to sea level (n= 1 ± 1) (P< 0.01). Although left ventricle diastolic function and systolic tricuspid regurgitation gradient were significantly different at altitude compared to sea level, they did not correlate with the number of USLC (P>. 0.05).Asymptomatic pulmonary oedema seems to be transiently present in fast-ascending recreational climbers. The lack of correlation between the number of USLC and indices of cardiac changes suggest that non-cardiogenic mechanisms may underlie this transient increase in lung water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Hypoxia
  • Pulmonary interstitial oedema
  • Thoracic ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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