2 doctors weighed in:

Help docs! i'm trying to find out what causes high altitude cerebral edema?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jefferson Chen
Neurosurgery
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Hypoxia

When a person goes to high altitude, they are naturally exposed to hypoxia as oxygen content decreases with elevation.
Most who climb can to aclimatize to this change. However, in certain people they are not able to compensate. The proton pumps that maintain the blood brain barrier cease to function and there is extra fluid (edema) in the brain that leads to brain swelling. This can lead to death.

In brief: Hypoxia

When a person goes to high altitude, they are naturally exposed to hypoxia as oxygen content decreases with elevation.
Most who climb can to aclimatize to this change. However, in certain people they are not able to compensate. The proton pumps that maintain the blood brain barrier cease to function and there is extra fluid (edema) in the brain that leads to brain swelling. This can lead to death.
Dr. Jefferson Chen
Dr. Jefferson Chen
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Eric Weisman
Board Certified, Neurology
34 years in practice
9M people helped
Continue
111,000 doctors available