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Philadelphia Panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on selected rehabilitation interventions for knee pain

PainSci » bibliography » Philadelphia Panel 2001
Tags: knee, running, ice heat, arthritis, physical therapy, leg, limbs, pain problems, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, rehab, injury, aging, manual therapy

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

INTRODUCTION: A structured and rigorous methodology was developed for the formulation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (EBCPGs), then was used to develop EBCPGs for selected rehabilitation interventions for the management of knee pain.

METHODS: Evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies were identified and synthesized using methods defined by the Cochrane Collaboration that minimize bias by using a systematic approach to literature search, study selection, data extraction, and data synthesis. Meta-analysis was conducted where possible. The strength of evidence was graded as level I for RCTs or level II for nonrandomized studies.

DEVELOPING RECOMMENDATIONS: An expert panel was formed by inviting stakeholder professional organizations to nominate a representative. This panel developed a set of criteria for grading the strength of both the evidence and the recommendation. The panel decided that evidence of clinically important benefit (defined as 15% greater relative to a control based on panel expertise and empiric results) in patient-important outcomes was required for a recommendation. Statistical significance was also required but was insufficient alone. Patient-important outcomes were decided by consensus as being pain, function, patient global assessment, quality of life, and return to work, providing that these outcomes were assessed with a scale for which measurement reliability and validity have been established.

VALIDATING THE RECOMMENDATIONS: A feedback survey questionnaire was sent to 324 practitioners from 6 professional organizations. The response rate was 51%.

RESULTS: Two positive recommendations of clinical benefit were developed: (1) transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and therapeutic exercises were beneficial for knee osteoarthritis, and (2) there was good agreement with these recommendations from practitioners (73% for TENS, 98% for exercises). For several interventions and indications (eg, thermotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, massage, electrical stimulation), there was a lack of evidence regarding efficacy.

CONCLUSIONS: This methodology of developing EBCPGs provides a structured approach to assessing the literature and developing EBCPGs that incorporates clinicians' feedback and is widely acceptable to practicing clinicians. Further well-designed RCTs are warranted regarding the use of several interventions for patients with knee pain where evidence was insufficient to make recommendations.

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