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Abstract

The most common altitude-related symptom, high-altitude headache (HAH), has recently been suggested to originate from restricted cerebral venous drainage in the presence of increased inflow caused by hypoxia. In support of this novel hypothesis, retinal venous distension was shown to correlate with the degree of HAH. We quantified for the first time retinal vessel diameter changes at 4559 m using infrared fundus images obtained from a state of the art Spectralis™ HRA+OCT with a semiautomatic VesselMap 1® software. High-altitude exposure resulted in altered arterial and venous diameter changes at high altitude, however, independent of headache burden.