Podcast 622: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 622: High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)

Contributor: Thomas Seibert, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) typically occurs 2-4 days after arriving at elevation
  • Symptoms include:
    • Fatigue
    • Dyspnea
    • Cough
  • Treatment includes:
    • Descent to lower elevation 
    • Oxygen supplementation
    • Nifedipine
  • Caused by sympathetic stimulation from hypobaric hypoxic exposure, causing uneven pulmonary vasculature constriction and when paired with a leaky endothelium, pulmonary edema. #science


Swenson ER, Bärtsch P. High-altitude pulmonary edema. Compr Physiol. 2012 Oct;2(4):2753-73. doi: 10.1002/cphy.c100029. PMID: 23720264.

Johnson NJ, Luks AM. High-Altitude Medicine. Med Clin North Am. 2016 Mar;100(2):357-69. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2015.09.002. PMID: 26900119.

Hultgren HN. High-altitude pulmonary edema: current concepts. Annu Rev Med. 1996;47:267-84. doi: 10.1146/annurev.med.47.1.267. PMID: 8712781.


Summarized by Jackson Roos, MSIV | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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