The mountains are calling and I must go—John Muir
Likely for as long has mankind has walked this earth, the lure of the mountains has called to us. The satisfaction and joy of ascending our high peaks are known to many of us, but there is also a cost for climbing too high. This issue of Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension reviews some of the fascinating impacts of high altitude on the pulmonary vasculature. A great deal of our current understanding of pulmonary vascular physiology was derived from early clinical observations of the impact of altitude on the pulmonary arteries and right ventricular function. The ability to study, understand, and then modify these acute and chronic changes remains of great clinical importance as more and more of the population live and recreate at high elevations.
In the ensuing pages, Drs Jeff Robinson and Christopher Chang from the University of Oregon review the fascinating history of altitude research, taking us from early observations in animals through some of the early human studies which helped to unravel this complex physiology. Dr Andrew Lovering from the University of Oregon and Dr William Cornwell from the University of Colorado review the fascinating impacts of altitude on cardiopulmonary physiology and right ventricular function during exercise.
Amanda Schnell Heringer, RN, MS, and Elsie Hazlewood, MS, CCNS, walk through some of the important clinical considerations for altitude-related travel in patients with pulmonary hypertension.
Lastly, Dr Peter Hackett takes us on the fascinating journey of his career in high-altitude medicine, reviewing his initial steps down this career path, some harrowing and life-threatening moments, and personal accomplishments and epiphanies along the way.
We hope the reader will be inspired to look further into this fascinating subject, and perhaps some young investigators starting their careers may discover the opportunists this field of investigation can offer.