Suspension syndrome

Author: Deana Slovjaková, Tomáš Gyönyör, Tatiana Králiková

Institution: Faculty of Medicine at Masaryk University in Brno

Medical discipline: Emergency Medicine

Keywords: Suspension trauma | Harness hang syndrome | Suspension syndrome | Penthrox | High-altitude and mountaineering medicine | Mountain medicine | Mountain rescue | Air medical service

Educational evel: Undergraduate level | Graduate

Whether performing high-altitude work or recreational and sport climbing activities, you may encounter the issue of suspension syndrome. It is a life-threatening situation characterized by syncope as a result of brain hypoperfusion, which can develop due to prolonged passive sitting in a harness. Resolving this algorithm, you will gain the knowledge of suspension syndrome prevention, which can be utilized by anyone in such a situation, as well as the knowledge of necessary steps in mountain rescue of two climbers, one conscious and one unconscious.

Go to


Few professional rescuers in our country have come across a patient with suspension syndrome, previously called suspension trauma, during their practice. It is a condition that can easily lead to a patient’s death when the rescuers do not know the process of its development and basic principles of first aid. Due to the low frequency of these cases, disputable rescue methods were often described in the literature until recently. Thanks to the doctor Roger Mortimer‘s work in 2011, an international research of pathophysiology of this condition began and based on the results modern recommendations are presented, especially how to prevent the onset of this syndrome and what to do in case the syndrome has already developed. I appreciate that the website AKUTNĚ.CZ took the opportunity to pass on the knowledge of these current practices in an interesting way to professionals who, considering not only a massive increase in interest in sports like rock climbing, speleology or paragliding, but also high-altitude workers, who are being seen at work more often than before, may experience an accident complicated by a passive suspension in a harness more often.

publikováno: 8. 5. 2020 | last modified on: 1. 6. 2020