New Publication: Global guidelines for emergency general surgery: systematic review and Delphi prioritization process

NIHR Global Research Health Unit on Global Surgery, Glasbey JC, Moore R, Ademuyiwa A, Adisa A, Biccard B, Chakrabortee S, Ghosh D, Harrison E, Jones C, Lapitan MC, Lawani I, Maimbo M, Martin J, Maxwell A, Morton D, Ntirenganya F, Nepogodiev D, Pinkney T, Ramos-De la Medina A, Qureshi AU, Simoes J, Tabiri S, Bhangu A, et al. Global guidelines for emergency general surgery: systematic review and Delphi prioritization process. BMJ Open 2022;6(1):zrac005 doi: 10.1093/bjsopen/zrac005

Background: Existing emergency general surgery (EGS) guidelines rarely include evidence from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and may lack relevance to low-resource settings. The aim of this study was to develop global guidelines for EGS that are applicable across all hospitals and health systems.

Methods: A systematic review and thematic analysis were performed to identify recommendations relating to undifferentiated EGS. Those deemed relevant across all resource settings by an international guideline development panel were included in a four-round Delphi prioritization process and are reported according to International Standards for Clinical Practice Guidelines. The final recommendations were included as essential (baseline measures that should be implemented as a priority) or desirable (some hospitals may lack relevant resources at present but should plan for future implementation).

Results: After thematic analysis of 38 guidelines with 1396 unique recommendations, 68 recommendations were included in round 1 voting (410 respondents (219 from LMICs)). The final guidelines included eight essential, one desirable, and three critically unwell patient-specific recommendations. Preoperative recommendations included guidance on timely transfers, CT scan pathways, handovers, and discussion with senior surgeons. Perioperative recommendations included surgical safety checklists and recovery room monitoring. Postoperative recommendations included early-warning scores, discharge plans, and morbidity meetings. Recommendations for critically unwell patients included prioritization for theatre, senior team supervision, and high-level postoperative care.

Conclusion: This pragmatic and representative process created evidence-based global guidelines for EGS that are suitable for resource limited environments around the world.


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