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J R Soc Med. 1996 March; 89(3): 141–143.
PMCID: PMC1295697

How can acute mountain sickness be quantified at moderate altitude?


Reports of acute mountain sickness (AMS) at moderate altitude show a wide variability, possibly because of different investigation methods. The aim of our study was to investigate the impact of investigation methods on AMS incidence. Hackett's established AMS score (a structured interview and physical examination), the new Lake Louise AMS score (a self-reported questionnaire) and oxygen saturation were determined in 99 alpinists after ascent to 2.94 km altitude. AMS incidence was 8% in Hackett's AMS score and 25% in the Lake Louise AMS score. Oxygen saturation correlated inversely with Hackett's AMS score with no significant correlation with the Lake Louise AMS score. At moderate altitude, the new Lake Louise AMS score overestimates AMS incidence considerably. Hackett's AMS score remains the gold standard for evaluating AMS incidence.

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Selected References

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  • Hackett PH, Rennie D, Levine HD. The incidence, importance, and prophylaxis of acute mountain sickness. Lancet. 1976 Nov 27;2(7996):1149–1155. [PubMed]
  • Röggla G, Röggla M, Hirschl MM, Wagner A, Laggner AN. Zur Inzidenz der Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) in mittlerer Höhe in Osterreichs Alpen. Wien Klin Wochenschr Suppl. 1992;194:7–10. [PubMed]
  • Maggiorini M, Bühler B, Walter M, Oelz O. Prevalence of acute mountain sickness in the Swiss Alps. BMJ. 1990 Oct 13;301(6756):853–855. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Honigman B, Theis MK, Koziol-McLain J, Roach R, Yip R, Houston C, Moore LG, Pearce P. Acute mountain sickness in a general tourist population at moderate altitudes. Ann Intern Med. 1993 Apr 15;118(8):587–592. [PubMed]
  • Roeggla G, Roeggla M, Wagner A. Acute mountain sickness at moderate altitudes. Ann Intern Med. 1993 Oct 1;119(7 Pt 1):633–634. [PubMed]

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