Podcast #232: HAPE

Author: Gretchen Hinson, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is caused when hypoxemia due to low ambient pO2 leads to breakdown and constriction of the pulmonary vasculature leading to edema.
  • HAPE is very rare under 8000 ft, but common over 10000 ft (6%). Over 18,000 ft the incidence is very high (12-15%).
  • Symptoms include dyspnea, cough, weakness and chest tightness.
  • Signs include hypoxemia, crackles, wheezing, central cyanosis, tachypnea and tachycardia.
  • Drugs that reduce pulmonary resistance have been shown to help, but increased oxygenation and descent are the best treatments.

References: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/300716-overview

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