Making the GRADE in anaphylaxis management
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OBJECTIVE: To review GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) methods and discuss the clinical application of conditional recommendations in clinical guidelines, specifically in the context of anaphylaxis. DATA SOURCES: Articles that described GRADE, evidence synthesis, evidence to recommendation frameworks, and shared decision making were used to discuss conditional recommendations of the 2020 Anaphylaxis GRADE guideline. STUDY SELECTIONS: A narrative review detailing concepts of GRADE and approaches to translate conditional recommendations to individualized and contextualized patient care. RESULTS: GRADE methods encourage a nuanced relationship between certainty of evidence and strength of recommendations. Strength of recommendation must incorporate key factors, including the balance between benefits and harms, patient values and preferences, and resource allocation (costs), with equity, feasibility, and acceptability also often included as considerations. GRADE guidelines provide recommendations that are characterized by directionality (for or against) and strength (strong or conditional). A conditional recommendation is tailored to context and primarily applied through a lens of patient preferences related to the likelihood of outcomes of importance and a shared decision-making approach. Although the 2020 Anaphylaxis GRADE guideline better informs the practice of anaphylaxis prevention through (1) identification and mitigation of risk factors for biphasic anaphylaxis and (2) evaluation of the use of glucocorticoid and/or antihistamine pretreatment, all GRADE recommendations, although directional, are conditional and as such should not be universally applied to every circumstance. CONCLUSION: Clinical guidelines provide an important opportunity to critically appraise evidence and translate evidence to practice. Patients, practitioners, and policy makers should appreciate the strength of recommendation and certainty of evidence and understand how this affects guideline applicability and implementation.
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