Author: Gretchen Hinson, M.D.
- 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.