Biomedical Aspects of Military Operations at High Altitude

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Title: Biomedical Aspects of Military Operations at High Altitude
Author: Hamilton, AJ
Abstract: High terrestrial elevation with its corresponding hypoxia offers one of the most inhospitable and debilitating environments found anywhere on the planet. Warfare in such a setting is a formidable undertaking. Twice in the last 25 years, major powers in Asia have wages wars at high altitude. Their experiences, as well as limited clinical studies involving soldiers and mountaineers, have outlined how dramatic a factor acute mountain sickness (AMS) will play in any high altitude military operation. This review outlines the hazards peculiar to high altitude and summarizes the clinical and military studies which are pertinent to developing strategies for acclimatization and prophylaxis of illness in troops committed to high altitude warfare. Finally, general medical guidelines for planning military operations at high terrestrial elevation are established, and the applications of high altitude as a tactical weapon in such scenarios is discussed. Keywords: Deployment, Dexamethasone, Acetazolamide.
Description: Citation Status: Active; Citation Classification: Unclassified; Title Classification: Unclassified; Report Classification: Unclassified; Identifier Classification: Unclassified; Abstract Classification: Unclassified; Distribution Limitation(s): 01 - APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE; Information provided by the Department of Defense and the Defense Technical Information Center ( is considered public information and may be distributed or copied unless otherwise specified. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.
Date: 1988

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