Mountain Medicine

Extremes of altitude.

Warfare has raged across mountainous terrain for millennia, but recent conflicts have again displayed the complex physiologic derangements that affect the warfighter. In Afghanistan alone, altitude played a significant role with the battles in the Korengal Valley at 8400 feet, Takur Ghar at 10400 feet, Operation Snipe at 13000 feet, and Tora Bora at 14300 feet. Correspondence from those battles reveal how our forces became combat ineffective and could not pursue the enemy due to the ravaging effects of altitude. Degradation in physical performance, excessive fatigue, disrupted sleep, and cognitive impairment all played a significant role. The operational medical provider must understand these physiologic effects and the need for acclimatization. We must also understand altitude emergencies intimately and prepare our forces accordingly.

This page contains multiple sub-pages with resources for the operational medical provider in mountainous environments.


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