Pulmonary Embolism at High Altitude: Analysis of Risk Factors
Objective: To analyze the risk factors for pulmonary embolism stationed at high altitudes with high altitude as one of the determinants.
Study Design: Retrospective longitudinal study.
Place and Duration of Study: Combined Military Hospital Skardu Pakistan, from Jan 2016 to Jan 2020.
Methodology: A total of 25 consecutive cases with pulmonary embolism reported to this hospital during the study period were enrolled. Medical records of all patients were retrospectively analyzed to determine the risk factors. In addition, patient demographic data, clinical features, and laboratory and radiological findings were recorded.
Results: Mean age of the patient was 30.68±5.37 years with a range from 23 to 40 years, the mean height of deployment was 17223.00±3577.00 feet, while the mean duration of stay was 53.92±44.76 days. Dyspnoea (84%) was the commonest clinical presentation followed by palpitation, chest pain, headache and haemoptysis. Most patients (88%) were non-smokers, while no patient had known significant risk factors. Thrombophilia and vascultitic screening were negative for all patients. In the absence of any significant hereditary or acquired risk factor, high altitude remains the only thrombogenic risk factor patients deployed at heights.
Conclusion: Stay at a high altitude is a major risk factor for pulmonary embolism in young patients without any other known risk factor.