Airway mucociliary function at high altitude

George W Rodway, Jeremy S. Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Despite the presence of a number of anecdotal reports in the mountaineering literature, mucociliary dysfunction at high altitude has received little scientific attention. However, the dry, cold, thin air at high altitude has the potential to undermine normal mucociliary function. This seems increasingly likely in mountaineers who also experience dehydration, nasal obstruction, and extremes of aerobic respiration when climbing in such environments. These factors may result in a number of clinical conditions that range from sore throats and coughs commonly seen at altitude to rarer cases of bronchiolar collapse and lung atelectasis. The purpose of this review is to discuss the etiology of mucociliary dysfunction at altitude and outline a number of potential solutions to the problems this phenomenon presents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cholinergic antagonist
  • High altitude
  • Hypoxia
  • Mountaineering
  • Mucociliary function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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