Changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) were measured using the radioactive xenon technique and were related to the development of acute mountain sickness (AMS). In 12 subjects, ascending from 150 to 3,475 m, CBF was 24% increased at 24 h [45.1 to 55.9 initial slope index (ISI) units] and 4% increased at 6 days (47.1 ISI units). Four subjects had similar increases of CBF when ascending to 3,200 m 3 mo later, indicating the reproducibility of the measurements. In nine subjects, ascending from 3,200 to 4,785-5,430 m, CBF increased to 76.4 ISI units, 53% above estimated sea-level values. CBF and increases in CBF were similar in subjects with or without AMS. In six subjects, CBF was measured before and after therapeutic intervention. At 2 h CBF increased 22% (71.3 to 87.3 ISI units) above pretreatment values in three subjects given 1.5 g acetazolamide, while three subjects given placebo showed no change. Symptoms remained unaltered in all subjects during the 2 h of the study. Overall, the results indicated that increases in CBF were similar in subjects with or without AMS while acetazolamide-provoked increases of CBF in AMS subjects caused no acute change in symptoms. Alterations in CBF cannot be directly implicated in the pathogenesis of AMS.
Journal of Applied Physiology, 1990, Vol 69, Issue 2, p. 430-3