Quality of chronic pain interventional treatment guidelines from pain societies: Assessment with the AGREE II instrument

Yasmine Hoydonckx, Pranab Kumar, David Flamer, Matteo Costanzi, Srinivasa N. Raja, Philip Peng, Anuj Bhatia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Procedures to relieve pain are performed frequently but there are concerns about patient selection, appropriate image guidance, frequency and training for physicians. Patients, healthcare providers, policymakers and licensing bodies seek evidence-based recommendations to use these interventions judiciously. In this review we appraised the methodological quality of recent clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for interventional pain procedures. Database and Data Treatment: A systematic search of the medical literature was performed. Three trained appraisers independently evaluated the methodological quality of the CPGs using a validated instrument, the Appraisal of Guidelines in Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II). Six domains were considered: 1) score and purpose; 2) stakeholder involvement; 3) rigour of development; 4) clarity of presentation; 5) applicability and 6) editorial independence. A total of 23 items were scored. CPGs were deemed ‘high quality’ if a mean scaled score above 60% for rigour of development and for two other domains was obtained. Results: Mean scaled domain quality scores ranged from 61.72% to 69.99%. Despite being based on modest levels of evidence, two of the four included CPGs were considered to be of high methodological quality. The AGREE II scores across the four guidelines exhibited good inter-rater reliability. None of the guidelines involved key stakeholders such as patients, other healthcare providers, and payers. Conclusions: All four CPGs were limited by a weak execution of the guideline development process. There is a need to develop methodologically sound evidence-based guidelines for the use of interventional pain procedures using a rigorous process that involves all relevant stakeholders. Significance: This systematic review appraises the methodological quality of existing CPGs on interventional procedures using a validated epidemiological tool (AGREE II). The aims of this review were to identify methodological and knowledge gaps in existing CPGs. Findings of this study will help in development of a high-quality CPG that can assist healthcare providers and patients in making informed decisions while ensuring that the right intervention is performed for the right patient at the right time. The quality of the evidence provided by the CPGs provided in support of their recommendations was also evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-721
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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