Altitude research

In 1999 I started planning to conduct high alittude research in order to better understand the physiology of responses to hypoxia, both in travellers to altitude and in critically ill patients at sea level.

Together with several of my university classmates, most notably Roger Thompson, I founded a charity Apex (altitude physiology expeditions), which has now organised 6 research expeditions.

A collection of our published work in this area is listed below. Most notably, we applied network clustering methods to re-classify patients with acute mountain sickness, leading to a new consensus definition of acute mountain sickness in 2018.

Academic training

Probably the greatest impact of this work has been getting clinical trainees excited about research. Below is a list of our previous volunteers and expedition organisers who are in academic positions or have completed higher degrees:

Apex Publications

Young JM , Williams DR, Thompson AAR. Thin Air, Thick Vessels: Historical and Current Perspectives on Hypoxic Pulmonary Hypertension. Frontiers in Medicine: 2019; 6: 93. PMC6504829
Thompson AAR . Altitude research on Mount Chacaltaya, Bolivia. 2019; PMID:2
Rocke AS , Paterson GG, Barber MT, Jackson AIR, Main SE, Stannett C, Schnopp MF, MacInnis M, Baillie JK, Horn EH, ..., Thompson AAR. Thromboelastometry and Platelet Function during Acclimatization to High Altitude. Thrombosis and Haemostasis: 2018; 118: 63-71. PMC6260116
Rocke AS , Paterson GG, Barber MT, Jackson AIR, Main SE, Stannett C, Schnopp MF, MacInnis MJ, Baillie JK, Horn EH, ..., Thompson AAR. Erratum to: Thromboelastometry and platelet function during acclimatisation to high altitude. Thrombosis and Haemostasis: 2018; 118: 801. doi:10.1055/s-0038-1639337
Roach RC , Hackett PH, Oelz O, Bärtsch P, Luks AM, MacInnis MJ, Baillie JK. The 2018 Lake Louise Acute Mountain Sickness Score. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2018; 19: 4-6. PMC6191821
Hall DP , MacCormick IJC, Phythian-Adams AT, Rzechorzek NM, Hope-Jones D, Cosens S, Jackson S, Bates MGD, Collier DJ, Hume DA, ..., Baillie JK. Network analysis reveals distinct clinical syndromes underlying acute mountain sickness. PloS One: 2014; 9: e81229. PMC3898916
Pagani L , Ayub Q, MacArthur DG, Xue Y, Baillie JK, Chen Y, Kozarewa I, Turner DJ, Tofanelli S, Bulayeva K, ..., Tyler-Smith C. High altitude adaptation in Daghestani populations from the Caucasus. Human Genetics: 2012; 131: 423-33. PMC3312735
MacCormick IJC , Somner J, Morris DS, MacGillivray TJ, Bourne RRA, Huang SS, MacCormick A, Aspinall PA, Baillie JK, Thompson AAR, Dhillon B. Retinal vessel tortuosity in response to hypobaric hypoxia. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2012; 13: 263-8. doi:10.1089/ham.2011.1097
Hall DP , Duncan K, Baillie JK. High altitude pulmonary oedema. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps: 2011; 157: 68-72. PMID:21465914
Bates MGD , Thompson AAR, Baillie JK, Sutherland AI, Irving JB, Hirani N, Webb DJ. Sildenafil citrate for the prevention of high altitude hypoxic pulmonary hypertension: double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2011; 12: 207-14. doi:10.1089/ham.2011.0007
Jackson SJ , Varley J, Sellers C, Josephs K, Codrington L, Duke G, Njelekela MA, Drummond G, Sutherland AI, Thompson AAR, Baillie JK. Incidence and predictors of acute mountain sickness among trekkers on Mount Kilimanjaro. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2010; 11: 217-22. doi:10.1089/ham.2010.1003
Thompson AAR , Baillie JK, Bates MGD, Schnopp MF, Simpson A, Partridge RW, Drummond GB, Mason NP. The citric acid cough threshold and the ventilatory response to carbon dioxide on ascent to high altitude. Respiratory Medicine: 2009; 103: 1182-8. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2009.02.007
Baillie JK , Thompson AAR, Irving JB, Bates MGD, Sutherland AI, Macnee W, Maxwell SRJ, Webb DJ. Oral antioxidant supplementation does not prevent acute mountain sickness: double blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. QJM : Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians: 2009; 102: 341-8. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcp026
Toshner MR , Thompson AAR, Irving JB, Baillie JK, Morton JJ, Peacock AJ. NT-proBNP does not rise on acute ascent to high altitude. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2008; 9: 307-10. doi:10.1089/ham.2008.1054
Mytton OT , Simpson A, Thompson AAR, Oram RA, Darowski A, Yu L, Collier DJ, Pollard AJ. Manual assessment of the initial fall in blood pressure after orthostatic challenge at high altitude. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine: 2008; 19: 225-32. doi:10.1580/07-WEME-OR-097.1
Somner JEA , Morris DS, Scott KM, MacCormick IJC, Aspinall P, Dhillon B. What happens to intraocular pressure at high altitude? Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science: 2007; 48: 1622-6. doi:10.1167/iovs.06-1238
Morris DS , Severn PS, Smith J, Somner JEA, Stannard KP, Cottrell DG. High altitude and retinal detachment. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2007; 8: 337-9. doi:10.1089/ham.2007.1026
Morris DS , Somner JEA, Scott KM, McCormick IJC, Aspinall P, Dhillon B. Corneal thickness at high altitude. Cornea: 2007; 26: 308-11. doi:10.1097/ICO.0b013e31802e63c8
Dorward DA , Thompson AAR, Baillie JK, MacDougall M, Hirani N. Change in plasma vascular endothelial growth factor during onset and recovery from acute mountain sickness. Respiratory Medicine: 2007; 101: 587-94. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2006.06.014
Bates MGD , Thompson AAR, Baillie JK. Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors in the treatment and prevention of high altitude pulmonary edema. Current Opinion in Investigational Drugs (London, England : 2000): 2007; 8: 226-31. PMID:17408118
Baillie JK , Bates MGD, Thompson AAR, Waring WS, Partridge RW, Schnopp MF, Simpson A, Gulliver-Sloan F, Maxwell SRJ, Webb DJ. Endogenous urate production augments plasma antioxidant capacity in healthy lowland subjects exposed to high altitude. Chest: 2007; 131: 1473-8. doi:10.1378/chest.06-2235
Morris DS , Somner J, Donald MJ, McCormick IJC, Bourne RRA, Huang SS, Aspinall P, Dhillon B. The eye at altitude. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology: 2006; 588: 249-70. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-34817-9_21
Thompson AAR , Baillie JK, Toshner M, Maxwell SRJ, Webb DJ, Irving JB. Pericardial effusions in healthy lowlanders after acute ascent to high altitude. Heart (British Cardiac Society): 2006; 92: 539-40. PMC1860857
Smith EMD , Baillie JK, Thompson AAR, Irving JB, Porteous D, Webb DJ. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase polymorphisms do not influence pulmonary artery systolic pressure at altitude. High Altitude Medicine and Biology: 2006; 7: 221-7. doi:10.1089/ham.2006.7.221
Baillie JK , Thompson AR, Bates MG, Schnopp M, Simpson A, Partridge R. The Chacaltaya High Altitude Laboratory. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh: 2004; 34: 130-133. PMID:1