Physicians on Mount Everest. A clinical account of the 1981 American Medical Research Expedition to Everest

West J Med. 1983 Oct;139(4):480-5.


The American Medical Research Expedition to Everest had a wide variety of medical problems, ranging from leech bites to high-altitude pulmonary edema. Preventive measures, however, such as careful attention to ingesting only pure water and food at the lower elevations and adequate personal hydration, nutrition and rest at extremely high altitude minimized the morbidity suffered by the group. Prophylactic administration of doxycycline was effective in reducing the severity of diarrheal illness in the group. Every member of the expedition suffered upper respiratory tract infections and many other infections, some of which were resistant to all therapy until the patient moved down from high altitude. Despite careful acclimatization, several cases of acute mountain sickness occurred and required descent to a lower altitude for treatment. Frostbite was avoided entirely.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Cellulitis / etiology
  • Expeditions*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / etiology
  • Leeches
  • Mountaineering*
  • Nepal
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology*