Quality of the development of traumatic brain injury clinical practice guidelines: A systematic review

Anjni Patel, Mateus Mazorra Coelho Vieira, John Abraham, Nick Reid, Tu Tran, Kevin Tomecsek, João Ricardo N. Vissoci, Stephanie Eucker, Charles J. Gerardo, Catherine A. Staton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death worldwide and is increasing exponentially particularly in low and middle income countries (LMIC). To inform the development of a standard Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for the acute management of TBI that can be implemented specifically for limited resource settings, we conducted a systematic review to identify and assess the quality of all currently available CPGs on acute TBI using the AGREE II instrument. In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, from April 2013 to December 2015 we searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Google Scholar and the Duke University Medical Center Library Guidelines for peer-reviewed published Clinical Practice Guidelines on the acute management of TBI (less than 24 hours), for any level of traumatic brain injury in both high and low income settings. A comprehensive reference and citation analysis was performed. CPGs found were assessed using the AGREE II instrument by five independent reviewers and scores were aggregated and reported in percentage of total possible score. An initial 2742 articles were evaluated with an additional 98 articles from the citation and reference analysis, yielding 273 full texts examined. A total of 24 final CPGs were included, of which 23 were from high income countries (HIC) and 1 from LMIC. Based on the AGREE II instrument, the best score on overall assessment was 100.0 for the CPG from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NIHCE, 2007), followed by the New Zealand Guidelines Group (NZ, 2006) and the National Clinical Guideline (SIGN, 2009) both with a score of 96.7. The CPG from a LMIC had lower scores than CPGs from higher income settings. Our study identified and evaluated 24 CPGs with the highest scores in clarity and presentation, scope and purpose, and rigor of development. Most of these CPGs were developed in HICs, with limited applicability or utility for resource limited settings. Stakeholder involvement, Applicability, and Editorial independence remain weak and insufficiently described specifically with piloting, addressing potential costs and implementation barriers, and auditing for quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0161554
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


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