Murad MH, Liem RI, Lang ES, Akl EA, Meerpohl JJ, DeBaun MR, Tisdale JF, Brandow AM, Lanzkron SM, Chou ST, Webb S, Mustafa RA. 2019 sickle cell disease guidelines by the American Society of Hematology: methodology, challenges, and innovations. Blood advances. 2019 Dec 10;3(3). 3945-3950. PMID: 31794603 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC6963245
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) convened 5 guideline panels to develop clinical practice recommendations addressing 5 management areas of highest importance to individuals living with sickle cell disease: pain, cerebrovascular complications, pulmonary and kidney complications, transfusion, and hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Panels were multidisciplinary and consisted of patient representatives, content experts, and methodologists. The Mayo Clinic Evidence-Based Practice Center conducted systematic reviews based on a priori selected questions. In this exposition, we describe the process used by ASH, including the GRADE approach (Grades of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) for rating certainty of the evidence and the GRADE Evidence to Decision Framework. We also describe several unique challenges faced by the guideline panels and the specific innovations and solutions used to address them, including a curriculum to train patients to engage in guideline development, dealing with the opioid crisis, and working with indirect and noncomparative evidence.