Wilderness Medical Society practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of acute altitude illness: 2014 update

Wilderness Environ Med. 2014 Dec;25(4 Suppl):S4-14. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2014.06.017.


To provide guidance to clinicians about best practices, the Wilderness Medical Society convened an expert panel to develop evidence-based guidelines for prevention and treatment of acute mountain sickness, high altitude cerebral edema, and high altitude pulmonary edema. These guidelines present the main prophylactic and therapeutic modalities for each disorder and provide recommendations about their role in disease management. Recommendations are graded based on the quality of supporting evidence and balance between the benefits and risks/burdens according to criteria put forth by the American College of Chest Physicians. The guidelines also provide suggested approaches to prevention and management of each disorder that incorporate these recommendations. This is an updated version of the original WMS Consensus Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Altitude Illness published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 2010;21(2):146-155.

Keywords: acetazolamide; acute mountain sickness; dexamethasone; high altitude; high altitude cerebral edema; high altitude pulmonary edema.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / prevention & control*
  • Altitude Sickness / therapy
  • Brain Edema / prevention & control*
  • Brain Edema / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mountaineering
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Pulmonary Edema / prevention & control*
  • Pulmonary Edema / therapy
  • Societies, Medical
  • Wilderness Medicine* / standards