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Appraisal of quality and analysis of the similarities and differences between osteoarthritis Clinical Practice Guideline recommendations: A systematic review.

OBJECTIVE: Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) aim to support management of hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA), but recommendations are often conflicting and implementation is poor, contributing to evidence-to-practice gaps. This systematic review investigated the contextual and methodological factors contributing to conflicting recommendations for hip and knee OA.

METHOD: Our systematic review appraised CPGs for managing hip and knee OA in adults ≥18 years (PROSPERO CRD42021276635). We used AGREE-II and AGREE-REX to assess quality and extracted data on treatment gaps, conflicts, biases, and consensus. Heterogeneity of recommendations was determined using Weighted Fleiss Kappa (K). The relationship between (K) and AGREE-II/AGREE-REX scores was explored.

RESULTS: We identified 25 CPGs across eight countries and four international organisations. The ACR, EULAR, NICE, OARSI and RACGP guidelines scored highest for overall AGREE-II quality (83%). The highest overall AGREE-REX scores were for BMJ Arthroscopy (80%), RACGP (78%) and NICE (76%). CPGs with the least agreement for pharmacological recommendations were ESCEO and NICE (-0.14), ACR (-0.08), and RACGP (-0.01). The highest agreements were between RACGP and NICE (0.53), RACGP and ACR (0.61), and NICE and ACR (0.91). Decreased internal validity determined by low-quality AGREE scores(<60%) in editorial independence were associated with less agreement for pharmacological recommendations.

CONCLUSION: There were associations between guideline quality and agreement scores. Future guideline development should be informed by robust evidence, editorial independence and methodological rigour to ensure a harmonisation of recommendations. End-users of CPGs must recognise the contextual factors associated with the development of OA CPGs and balance these factors with available evidence.

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