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Web-enabled Telemedicine project developed to monitor the health of Mt. Everest climbers.

Vincent Grasso, M.D.
Director of Extreme Everest
Expedition Base Camp Clinic
Head of Operation Outreach
Department of Surgery
Yale University School of
40 Temple Street, Suite 3A
New Haven, CT 06510
Voice: 201-867-6159
FAX: 203-764-9066


In May 1996 eight climbers died attempting the summit of Mt. Everest. Communicating vital health statistics of climbers who are at heights of 29,000 feet above sea level and experiencing extreme temperature and weather conditions are extremely complex and necessary to ensure the safety of climbers.


The Everest Extreme Expedition wanted to monitor the climbers and report back on their progress as they climb the mountain. In order to do so, they pulled together several vendors and academic organizations, including AT&T Solutions, Logical Design Solutions, MIT and Yale.

From the base camp clinic, video and data was transmitted via the INMARSAT Indian Ocean satellite to a land station in Malaysia. From there, calls were routed over the SATCOM Global ISDN network to Santa Paula, California where they were picked up by the AT&T ISDN network.

The Logical Design Solutions (LDS)-designed Web site displayed the vital statistics of the climbers as well as other relevant information. Yale medical personnel consulted with doctors from Walter Reed Army Hospital and doctors in other facilities worldwide. Video and data received from the medical teams and the Everest site was placed directly into the LDS-designed Web site.


Hardware: Hardware includes video signaling from Everest generated over a pair of B-phones to support 128-kbps video and audio signals using the H.320 industry standard video protocol. Each B-phone is capable of transmitting video or data at speeds up to 64 Kbps. Signals from the B-phones will be multiplexed using a mobile computer with an onboard capability to combine multiple 64 Kb channels for video and data transmission.

Software: Logical Design Solutions used Photoshop (Adobe) and HomeSite (Allaire) to create the Web site.

Networks: From the base camp clinic, video and data was transmitted via the INMARSAT Indian Ocean satellite to a land station in Malaysia. From there, the calls will be routed over the SATCOM Global ISDN network to Santa Paula, California, where they will be picked up by the AT&T ISDN network.

Other: Personnel Status Monitors which monitor the vital signs of climbers; a stretcher with an imbedded miniaturized Life Support for Trauma; an intensive care unit; and, a portable 3-D tele-ultrasound system that can transmit images of injuries to doctors at Yale.


The cost of the project cannot be estimated because numerous vendors were involved. Some vendor involvement was donated to further the scientific and health efforts. The justification of the project was simple: to ensure the safety of the climbers, thus preventing a similar recurrence to the May 1996 disaster.


The entire engagement took under 30 days.


Numerous climbers, physicians and staff members are involved in the Everest Extreme Expedition.


Productivity: This is an important area to the project. Without the telemedicine network, the climbers could not be successfully monitored from remote locations.

Patient care: Again, intervention by medical personnel in an emergency would not be possible if the climbers were not being monitored and results being reported back to physicians. Data not only saves lives, but will also provide exceptionally detailed physiological data on climbers which will further our understanding of human performance in extreme environments.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Technology Information; Company Business and Marketing
Publication:Health Management Technology
Date:Mar 1, 1999
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