a1 Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, Command Hospital (Eastern Command (EC)), Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Background: People suffer unique health problems in high altitude areas, due to such factors as elevation, aircraft ascent and descent, extreme cold, hypoxia, hypobaria, and low relative humidity. This study was conducted to evaluate ENT morbidity at high altitude.
Methods: Serving soldiers introduced to a high altitude environment who presented with various ENT symptoms were examined to identify ENT disease. In addition, patients undergoing hyperbaric chamber therapy, tracheostomy and treatment of cold injuries were also examined for ENT problems.
Results: The following were detected: 13 cases of otic barotrauma, 11 cases of sinus barotrauma, three cases of vertigo, six cases of pinna frostbite, three cases of barotrauma caused by hyperbaric chamber therapy, an unusually high incidence of epistaxis, and innumerable patients with high altitude pharyngitis.
Conclusion: Diseases of the ear, nose and throat contribute significantly to high altitude morbidity. In a military context, health education of troops is necessary to avoid such problems.
(Accepted June 28 2010)
(Online publication November 17 2010)
c1 Address for correspondence: Lt Col (Dr) B K Prasad, Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, Command Hospital (EC), Alipore Road, Kolkata 700027, West Bengal, India Email: email@example.com
Presented at the 62nd Annual Conference of the Association of Otolaryngologists of India, 8 January 2010, Mumbai, India
Dr B K Prasad takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper
Competing interests: None declared