Dr David Hillebrandt, UIAA Medcom Vice President and Medical Advisor to the BMC, reports from the international conference in Peru.
The UIAA Medical commission president, Dr Buddha Basnyat from Nepal, was unable to attend the International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM) World Congress in Peru due to visa problems.
Our BMC medical advisor Dr David Hillebrandt, who is vice president, represented Buddha at the annual UIAA Medcom Meeting and also at a special joint meeting with the medical commissions of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) and the ISMM with whom we jointly run the increasingly recognised and popular Diploma of Mountain Medicine.
The diploma is now run by 10 individual national organisations and we were particularly pleased to report that it has recently become established in Japan. The commissions discussed ways of improving its role in educating and maintaining standards of care by doctors and paramedics in involved in mountain medicine throughout the world.
Our meetings are only a small part of the five day ISMM Congress which brings together altitude, expedition, climbing and rescue doctors from around the world. The university venue in Arequipa, dominated by 5000m peaks, was an ideal place for lectures on cutting edge research in to high altitude illness, practical sessions and workshops and most importantly an informal exchange of ideas and a chance to make new friends for future cooperative ventures.
We all look forward to closer working relationships between our UIAA Medcom, the ICAR medcom, the ISMM and the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) especially in producing more advice guidelines for both doctors and interested lay persons. Further work on mountaineering with pre existing cardiac and other long term conditions is planned for the next twelve months.
This South American based meeting has opened up important dialogue between doctors on ways to minimise the risks of developing altitude illness on popular high altitude peaks such as Aconcagua. It was exciting to be able to chat to our Argentine colleagues and education regarding altitude sickness and screening methods are now being reviewed at an international level. The organisation holding the concession for running medical services on Aconcagua has changed and it is hoped that this will result in a modification in the blood pressure screening that has been previously reported on this website and has resulted in some UK climbers being turned back at base camp.
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