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Sickle Cell Disease Guidelines

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has launched an initiative to develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) across the lifespan. We have appointed an expert panel to identify the clinical questions and to develop recommendations based on a systematic review of the relevant literature. The panel began work in February 2009 and expects to finish in Late Spring 2012.

Our goal is to develop guidelines that address key aspects of care in clinical settings, focus on primary care, and identify evidence-based best practices. The areas for these guidelines are health maintenance, acute and chronic care, hydroxyurea usage, and transfusion therapy.

How the panel is developing the guidelines

The panel is using state-of-the-art principles of evidence-based medicine to identify, review, and evaluate the scientific evidence. The process includes several steps:

  • Develop a set of prioritized probable recommendations.
  • Identify critical issues/questions for clinical practice from these recommendations.
  • Formulate key search strategies to find the relevant scientific literature on these critical issues/questions.
  • Set criteria for studies to be reviewed.
  • Identify, retrieve, review, and rate the quality of the relevant studies.
  • Develop evidence tables that summarize key information from the studies.
  • Summarize and rate the body of evidence.
  • Determine and grade evidence-based clinical practice recommendations, drawn from this body of evidence.

The resulting recommendations will then be compiled into guidelines.

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