A quality assessment of evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and management of ventilator-associated pneumonia: a systematic review

Kairui Wan, Hengrui Liang, Guolin Yan, Bangyu Zou, Chuxin Huang, Mei Jiang


Background: Numerous evidence-based guidelines (EBGs) pertaining to ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) have been published by domestic and international organizations, but their qualities have not been reported.
Methods: A systematic search of the literature was performed up to July 2018 for relevant guidelines. Guidelines were eligible for inclusion if they incorporated recommendation statements for prevention and/or management in adults or children with VAP and were developed on a systematic evidence-based method. Four reviewers evaluated each guideline using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) instrument, which comprises 23 items organized into six domains in addition to two overall items.
Results: Thirteen EBGs were identified for review. An overall high degree of agreement among reviewers was reached [intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC), 0.885; 95% CI, 0.862–0.905] during their review. The scores (mean, range) for the six AGREE domains were: scope and purpose (61%, 51–74%), stakeholder involvement (36%, 18–68%), rigor of development (41%, 22–59%), clarity and presentation (56%, 47–71%), applicability (38%, 21–59%) and editorial independence (50%, 0–77%). Only two EBGs (15.4%) were rated “recommended” for clinical practice. Approximately 86% of recommendations were based on moderate or low levels of evidence (levels B–D were 46.2%, 19.0%, and 21.2%, respectively). The recommendations for prevention and management of VAP were similar among the different EBGs.
Conclusions: The overall quality of the identified EBGs pertaining to VAP was classified as moderate. The management of VAP varied by guideline. More high-quality evidence is needed to improve guideline recommendations.