Altitude and cold weather: Are they vascular risks?

Current opinion in cardiology (Impact Factor: 2.7). 05/2014; 29(4). DOI: 10.1097/HCO.0000000000000064
Source: PubMed


The relationship of altitude and cold to cardiovascular risk is complex. Cold is hard to separate from altitude. This review highlights the latest information on cardiovascular disease associated with high altitude and cold; both represent unique clinical situations.
Evolution and genetics are relevant to high altitude, with much new information available. Specific physiology explains some congenital heart disease at altitude. New reports of hematological changes associated with altitude and cold help clarify thrombosis, which is relevant to reports of very late in-stent thrombosis at altitude. Multiple cardiovascular risk factors are affected by altitude and cold, and an increased incidence of myocardial infarction occurs. There is new research on acute mountain sickness associated with inflammation with relevance for clinical study of pulmonary edema. Socioeconomics plays a part in altitude and cold effects on cardiovascular disease. In addition to acute disease, high altitude involves chronic mountain sickness with new knowledge of associated cardiovascular endothelial abnormalities.
High altitude and cold involve acute disease, chronic disease, and public health issues. Continued research is essential to enable the best clinical management in this era of rapid worldwide travel.

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