Grading evidence and recommendations for clinical practice guidelines in nephrology. A position statement from Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO)

K Uhlig, A Macleod, J Craig, J Lau, A S Levey, A Levin, L Moist, E Steinberg, R Walker, C Wanner, N Lameire, G Eknoyan
Kidney International 2006, 70 (12): 2058-65
Considerable variation in grading systems used to rate the strength of guideline recommendations and the quality of the supporting evidence in Nephrology highlights the need for a uniform, internationally accepted, rigorous system. In 2004, Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) commissioned a methods expert group to recommend an approach for grading in future nephrology guidelines. This position statement by KDIGO recommends adopting the Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach for the grading of evidence and guidelines on interventions. The GRADE approach appraises systematic reviews of the benefits and harms of an intervention to determine its net health benefit. The system considers the design, quality, and quantity of studies as well as the consistency and directness of findings when grading the quality of evidence. The strength of the recommendation builds on the quality of the evidence and additional considerations including costs. Adaptations of the GRADE approach are presented to address some issues pertinent to the field of nephrology, including (1) the need to extrapolate from studies performed predominantly in patients without kidney disease, and (2) the need to use qualitative summaries of effects when it is not feasible to quantitatively summarize them. Further refinement of the system will be required for grading of evidence on questions other than those related to intervention effects, such as diagnostic accuracy and prognosis.

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