Bolzano is throughout this week, host of X World Congress of mountain medicine and emergency mountain medicine (X World Congress High Altitude Medicine and Physiology & Mountain Emergency Medicine). The program of the congress is filled with a variety of topics and experiences designed for both doctors and hikers wishing to climb to high altitude easier and also reduce the risk of diseases and syndromes such as AMS ( Acute Mountain Sickness ) , HAPE ( high altitude pulmonary edema ) and HACE ( high altitude cerebral edema ).
Topics covered different groups of hikers and various pathological conditions which may occur or worsen during the climb to high altitude. One of the current issues that are still open active discussion is the use of drugs and different methods and it is covered in the session titled “Pros – Cons- Medications at high altitude -moving it from right and wrong to disclosure .”
Dr. Nenad Dikic as Chairman of the Doping Control Anti-Doping Agency of Serbia and member of the Medical Commission of UIAA ( International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) asked to be invited lecturer and one of the panelists in the discussion on the use of drugs in climbing from the viewpoint of doping. Among the speakers were the most experience mountain medicine experts such as the DR. Buddha Basnyat, president of the ISMM.
The boundary between performance enhancing and prevention of complications of altitude sickness, in the opinion of the panel members, is quite difficult to determine but the role of doctor is to provide sufficient information for climbers at high altitude and warns them of the possible complications. Giving the climbers drugs that are prohibited in elite athletes is not only qestion of their general health but also matter of ethics and fair-play.