Clinical Practice Guidelines to be Covered in Depth

Kevin C. Wilson

ATS will highlight its evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, sickle cell disease-related pulmonary hypertension, bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, field walking tests (e.g., the six-minute walk test), and treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis during a scientific symposium today. “Clinical Practice on the Cutting Edge: ATS Clinical Practice Guidelines” will be from 2:15 to 4:15 p.m. in Room 107/109/111/113 (Street Level) Colorado Convention Center.

“The speakers will describe the clinical recommendations formulated by the task forces, discuss the rationale for each, and critically review the evidence supporting each. They also will describe how the guidelines provide the foundation for improving care,” says Kevin C. Wilson, MD, associate professor of medicine at Boston University and ATS senior director of documents and medical affairs.

Dr. Wilson and Carey C. Thomson, MD, MPH, the Robert Westlake, MD, director of critical care at Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, MA, are co-chairs of the symposium. Dr. Thomson is chair of the ATS Education Committee. Chairs of the task forces that developed the guidelines are among the speakers. Several of the documents were developed through collaborative efforts with other professional societies.

“Clinical practice guidelines provide a link between evidence and patient care by making explicit clinical recommendations based upon expert consideration of the benefits, harms, burdens, patient preferences, cost, resource use, and quality of evidence,” Dr. Wilson says. “The symposium provides the opportunity for attendees to hear the experts describe the rationale for recommendations that appear in recently published or soon-to-be published guidelines, and to ask the experts questions about their recommendations.”

Dr. Thomson first will discuss the dissemination and implementation of ATS guidelines. Dr. Wilson then will describe the ATS system for rating the strength of clinical recommendations and the quality of evidence. Finally, presenters will discuss recommendations from the “Exercise-induced Bronchoconstriction, Sickle Cell Disease-related Pulmonary Hypertension, Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome, and Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis” guidelines. The IPF talk is a late addition and is expected to attract many attendees. Another talk will focus on Field Walking Tests Technical Standards, covering recommendations for how to perform such tests, the rationale for each, and the supporting evidence.

The guidelines are the products of years of hard work and are developed by volunteers who are experts in their fields and dedicated to improving patient outcomes.

“The chairs presenting their guidelines should be commended for the successful completion of projects that are certain to benefit thousands or millions of patients,” Dr. Wilson says. “I hope that attendees will come away from the symposium with an appreciation of how many factors are considered by a guideline panel when a recommendation is formulated and how rigorous and systematic the process of guideline development has become, the purpose of which is to ensure that ATS guidelines are trustworthy.”