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238668 tn?1232735930
Re: Aortic insufficency and High Altitude
Posted By CCF CARDIO MD - CRC on January 13, 1999 at 11:08:30:

In Reply to: Aortic insufficency and High Altitude posted by Bruce on January 13, 1999 at 09:47:01:

Hi -
I am age 49 and have mild aortic insufficiency.  Discovered at age 30
through stethoscopic examination.  Cause unknown.  Speculation is
rheumatic fever, although if so, was not recognized at the time.
I am asymptomatic andnot limited in my activities in general.  
SBE prohylaxis for dental
My question is concerning the reasonability for exposure to high
The trip I am considering involves little or no exertion at the
high altitudes.

Day 1 -  plane flight from sea level to 11000 ft.  sleep at 11000
Day 2 -  travel by truck form 11000 to 13500.  sleep at 13500
day 3 -  travel by truck to 9000, and then begin rafting (mild exertion).
The rest of the trip should not be a problem.
1) Am I at increased risk of altitude sickness due to the
   aortic insufficiency?
2) If I do develop altitude sickness, are complication risks increased
   due to my heart condition?
3) Any complications with the standard drug given to help prevent
   altitude sickness related to my condition.
Thanks a lot,
Dear Bruce,
Thank you for your question.  Where are you thinking about going?  It sounds like fun.  There is no increase risk of altitude sickness with aortic valve disease and the treatment for altitude sickness is immediate descent to lower altitude so I see no increased risk there.  I do not recommend prophylactic medication for altitude sickness to my patients as the risks outweigh the benefits in my opinion.  Be sure to check with your doctor before making your final plans.  Have fun if you go!
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies.  Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.  The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.

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