The STAR Data Reporting Guidelines for Clinical High Altitude Research

High Alt Med Biol. 2018 Mar;19(1):7-14. doi: 10.1089/ham.2017.0160. Epub 2018 Feb 9.


Brodmann Maeder, Monika, Hermann Brugger, Matiram Pun, Giacomo Strapazzon, Tomas Dal Cappello, Marco Maggiorini, Peter Hackett, Peter Baärtsch, Erik R. Swenson, Ken Zafren (STAR Core Group), and the STAR Delphi Expert Group. The STARdata reporting guidelines for clinical high altitude research. High AltMedBiol. 19:7-14, 2018.

Aims: The goal of the STAR (STrengthening Altitude Research) initiative was to produce a uniform set of key elements for research and reporting in clinical high-altitude (HA) medicine. The STAR initiative was inspired by research on treatment of cardiac arrest, in which the establishment of the Utstein Style, a uniform data reporting protocol, substantially contributed to improving data reporting and subsequently the quality of scientific evidence.

Materials and methods: The STAR core group used the Delphi method, in which a group of experts reaches a consensus over multiple rounds using a formal method. We selected experts in the field of clinical HA medicine based on their scientific credentials and identified an initial set of parameters for evaluation by the experts.

Results: Of 51 experts in HA research who were identified initially, 21 experts completed both rounds. The experts identified 42 key parameters in 5 categories (setting, individual factors, acute mountain sickness and HA cerebral edema, HA pulmonary edema, and treatment) that were considered essential for research and reporting in clinical HA research. An additional 47 supplemental parameters were identified that should be reported depending on the nature of the research.

Conclusions: The STAR initiative, using the Delphi method, identified a set of key parameters essential for research and reporting in clinical HA medicine.

Keywords: Delphi method; Utstein style; clinical research; guidelines; high altitude.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude Sickness / diagnosis*
  • Altitude Sickness / physiopathology*
  • Altitude*
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Research Design / standards*