Acute Mountain Sickness


4.7 out of 5 (42 Reviews)



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Expiration Date

28 Feb 2026

Last Reviewed

1 Mar 2023

Estimated Time To Finish

60 Minutes

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Activity Description

At higher altitudes, the decreased partial pressure of oxygen can cause several pathological presentations, including high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, and the more mild, but much more common acute mountain sickness (also referred to as altitude illness or altitude sickness). High altitude pulmonary edema and high altitude cerebral edema are both life-threatening emergencies requiring immediate treatment with prompt descent to lower altitude (or artificial high pressure environment). In contrast, acute mountain sickness can be prevented or managed with oral medication, and does not typically require prompt descent or oxygen supplementation. This activity reviews the evaluation and management of patients with acute mountain sickness and provides recommendations to preventing the condition. This activity highlights the role of the interprofessional team in caring for and counseling patients at risk for acute mountain sickness.

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the learner will be better able to:

  • Describe how to prevent altitude sickness by modifying the rate of ascent.
  • Describe how to use acetazolamide for both prophylaxis and treatment of acute mountain sickness.
  • Describe the prognosis for patients with acute mountain sickness.
  • Identify interprofessional team strategies to coordinate care to more effectively prevent and treat acute mountain sickness.


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COMMERCIAL SUPPORT: This activity has received NO commercial support.

Continuing Education Accreditation Information

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, and StatPearls, LLC. The Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University designates this activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity is reported to the following Maintenance of Certification (MOC) boards:
American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Hematology
American Board of Pathology
  • Clinical Pathology
  • Hematology (Blood, BM)
  • Pulmonary, Mediastinum
American Board of Pediatrics
  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
  • Pediatric Pulmonology

Instructions for Credit

  1. Register for the activity and create a StatPearls login.     
  2. Review the target audience, learning objectives, and disclosure information.
  3. Study the educational content in the activity.
  4. Choose the best answer to each activity test question. To receive credit, you must pass the test questions with a minimum score of 100%.
  5. Complete the post-activity assessment.
  6. Obtain a certificate.

For information on the applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.


Faculty may discuss investigational products or off-label uses of products regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Readers should verify all information before employing any therapies described in this educational activity.

The information provided for this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical/clinical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The information presented does not necessarily reflect the views of StatPearls or any commercial supporters of educational activities on StatPearls specifically disclaims responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through a participant's misunderstanding of the content.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing and a money-back guarantee is provided if not completely satisfied.

  • StatPearlsand and Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University reserve the right to cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances. StatPearls andQuillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University will not be responsible for other expenses incurred by the participant in the unlikely event that the program is canceled.

Medium or Media Used:

  • Computer Requirements: Internet Access
  • E-mail Address

Equal Opportunity

  • StatPearls andQuillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Equal Access Institutions. 


Media Usage Rights

The contributors and editors of StatPearls have attested that all associated media (images and video) have been legally cleared for use with this activity.  All copyrights are reserved.


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