Fighting in thin air: Operational wilderness medicine in high Asia

George W Rodway, Stephen R. Muza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The current conflict in Afghanistan is the first major military action in which the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces have found themselves regularly engaged in combat at high altitudes. However, high altitude warfare is not a new concept in Asia by any means. Methods: This article will offer a short general historical review of high altitude warfare in Asia and then specifically address some of the operational challenges faced by troops carrying out missions at high altitude in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Additionally, there will be discussion of evidence-based interventions being used to attempt to maintain optimal health of the warfighter at high altitude in this theater of operations. Conclusions: Years of research into how to alleviate the problematic nature of military operations in the high altitude environment has resulted in extensive risk management recommendations from the US Army, specifically aimed at preventing altitude-related casualties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • acclimatization
  • altitude sickness
  • high altitude
  • history
  • military

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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