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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 36

of 'High altitude disease: Unique pediatric considerations'

Acute mountain sickness in tourists with children at Lake Chungará(4400 m) in northern Chile.
Moraga FA, Osorio JD, Vargas ME
Wilderness Environ Med. 2002;13(1):31.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the presence of acute mountain sickness (AMS) and cardiorespiratory responses in adult and pediatric tourists exposed to high altitude (Putre and Chungará).
METHODS: The study was performed during a tourist expedition to Lake Chungará(4400 m) with an overnight stay in the town of Putre (3500 m). The study group included 15 adults (21-44 years), 10 teenagers (13-18 years), and 6 children (6-48 months). We evaluated AMS symptoms in adults with the Lake Louise questionnaire and in children with the modified Children's Lake Louise Score for preverbal subjects. Cardiorespiratory measurements included heart rate and oxygen saturation on arrival at Putre and Chungará. Values were expressed as mean +/- SD; significance was tested by analysis of variance, followed by the Newman-Keuls test (P<.05).
RESULTS: Significantly lower hemoglobin saturation was found among the children in Putre (74.8% +/- 5.2%) and Chungará(65.3%+/-1.3%) than among the teenagers (82.2%+/-3.2% and 78.6% 2.5%) and adults (83.9%+/-3.3% and 79.7%+/-5.5%) at a similar altitude. Ahigher incidence of AMS was observed in children (100%) in Putre than in teenagers (50%) and adults (27%).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that children are extremely sensitive to hypoxia, as expressed by symptoms of AMS and significant desaturation. Our findings add to the available information regarding the problems encountered when ascending to high altitude with children and support the importance of close monitoring of young children during ascent to high altitude.
Unidad de Fisiología, Departamento Biomédico, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile. fmoraga@uantof.cl