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May 17, 2006

How Thrombogenic Is Hypoxia?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Abteilung Innere Medizin VII (Sportmedizin), Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

JAMA. 2006;295(19):2297-2299. doi:10.1001/jama.295.19.2297

On August 3, 1953, a US expedition consisting of 7 men got caught in prolonged storms at an altitude of about 8200 m on the Abruzzi ridge of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. After 4 days, venous thrombosis was diagnosed in the leg of Art Gilkey followed 2 days later by coughing and dyspnea, presumably due to pulmonary embolism. During the retreat from the mountain, the whole party started to slide down the steep ridge as their ropes became entangled. All were stopped by the strong hand of the last man.1