Down Syndrome and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema

A case series of high altitude pulmonary edema was reported that included 6 children with Down syndrome [Durmowicz: 2001]. These children travelled up to moderate altitudes (1738-3252 feet) within a short period of time (several in under 24 hours) and developed pulmonary edema. Among the 6 children reported, 4 had congenital heart defects, 3 had chronic pulmonary hypertension, and 5 had developed an intercurrent illness just prior to their travel. The author suggested that care should be taken when traveling to even moderate altitudes with children with Down syndrome. Other authors have suggested an increased risk for those with obstructive sleep apena perhaps related to altered chemoresponsiveness to hypoxia [Richalet: 2008].


Author: Lisa Samson-Fang, MD - 12/2009
Content Last Updated: 1/2010

Page Bibliography

Durmowicz AG.
Pulmonary edema in 6 children with Down syndrome during travel to moderate altitudes.
Pediatrics. 2001;108(2):443-7. PubMed abstract
of particular relevance perhaps in Utah.

Richalet JP, Chenivesse C, Larmignat P, Meille L.
High altitude pulmonary edema, down syndrome, and obstructive sleep apneas.
High Alt Med Biol. 2008;9(2):179-81. PubMed abstract