Improving Clinical Practice Guidelines for Practicing Cardiologists

The Multicenter Cardiac Research Group

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

22 Scopus citations


Cardiac-related clinical practice guidelines have become an integral part of the practice of cardiology. Unfortunately, these guidelines are often long, complex, and difficult for practicing cardiologists to use. Guidelines should be condensed and their format upgraded, so that the key messages are easier to comprehend and can be applied more readily by those involved in patient care. After presenting the historical background and describing the guideline structure, we make several recommendations to make clinical practice guidelines more user-friendly for clinical cardiologists. Our most important recommendations are that the clinical cardiology guidelines should focus exclusively on (1) class I recommendations with established benefits that are supported by randomized clinical trials and (2) class III recommendations for diagnostic or therapeutic approaches in which quality studies show no benefit or possible harm. Class II recommendations are not evidence based but reflect expert opinions related to published clinical studies, with potential for personal bias by members of the guideline committee. Class II recommendations should be published separately as "Expert Consensus Statements" or "Task Force Committee Opinions," so that both majority and minority expert opinions can be presented in a less dogmatic form than the way these recommendations currently appear in clinical practice guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21064
Pages (from-to)1773-1776
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2015


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