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Strange Theoretical Medication question


Specializes in Med Surg. Has 7 years experience.

So... I'm up early (insomnia lately), watching a special on Everest. I've been interested in high altitude medicine for some time. Anyway, you know how they go through the acclimatization process by moving higher then returning down, then moving higher again over time - and how it creates greater red blood cell production in order to provide oxygen?

One of the major issues from this is, of course, that the blood becomes thicker and puts people at risk from clots and ischemic issues. And if you have a heart attack at a certain height, nobody is going to drag you back down the mountain.

So then I thought, I wonder why they just don't use some type of anticoagulant prophylaxis? I know that this creates its own risks, but there might be a way of doing it where they could get quick PT's, etc and manage it. I mean, altitude doctors use a lot of other meds up there.

Then I further thought - what about those cyclists, etc. who use epo to blood dope. Same thing, many of them die from heart issues due to high blood viscosity. It just made me wonder why we never hear anything about them also abusing anticoagulants. Maybe its just easier to take aspirin because its not a banned substance (at least, I don't think it is).

I don't know, these are just the weird theoretical things I think about when I cant sleep. Not suggesting anyone should do this, just more wondering if there are reasons why we haven't seen it.