Update – CHEST clinical practice guidelines

CHEST has a long history of developing high quality clinical practice guidelines based on rigorous methodology, particularly in Thoracic Oncology, Pulmonary Vascular/Venous Thromboembolic Disease, and Clinical Pulmonary Medicine/Cough. Using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach, CHEST guidelines aim to optimize patient care by providing evidence-based recommendations that are transparent and free from bias.

Recently, CHEST invested in reassessing how we could further enhance the relevance, timeliness, and impact of guidelines on patient care and outcomes. We re-evaluated how we prioritize guideline topics to ensure we identify conditions in which patient care might be significantly improved by the application of evidence-based recommendations. In addition to re-committing to the rigorous GRADE approach, we also committed to timelier guideline development that would cover a broader scope of clinical topics, better mirroring the needs of our membership.

Since resuming our guideline process last year, we completed four Expert Panel Reports covering COVID-19–related topics, as well as several CHEST clinical practice guidelines. This includes publications on the management of cough in various conditions and populations – chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis in the immunocompromised adult, asthma and nonasthmatic eosinophilic bronchitis, and in children. We also published Diagnosis and Evaluation of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis earlier this year. This guideline outlines a patient-centered and interdisciplinary diagnostic approach to aid clinicians and patients in navigating many of the uncertainties in the evaluation of this condition.

Updates from two of our guidelines following our ‘living guideline’ model were also recently published – Screening for Lung Cancer and Antithrombic Therapy for VTE Disease. The Screening for Lung Cancer update provides guidance on patient selection for lung cancer screening, updating the age and smoking history criteria based on new evidence published since the original CHEST guideline. The updated guideline also provides recommendations for implementing high-quality lung cancer screening programs to optimize the overall benefits of screening.

In Antithrombotic Therapy for VTE, the structure of recommendations follows the chronology of VTE management: ‘Whether to treat,’ ‘Interventional and adjunctive treatments,’ ‘Initiation phase,’ ‘Treatment phase,’ ‘Extended phase,’ and ‘Complications of VTE.’ This guideline was designed to provide a comprehensive reference for VTE management in patients at any stage of the disease. Several recommendations are new from prior versions of the guideline, including whether patients with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis should be treated with anticoagulation and the choice of anticoagulant therapy for patients with antiphospholipid syndrome and thrombosis.

As we look toward the future of guideline development at CHEST, we are excited by the opportunity to expand the CHEST guideline portfolio. Starting in 2022, we will be broadening the scope of CHEST guidelines to include topics in nine clinical domains: Airway Disorders, Chest Infections, Clinical Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care, Interstitial Lung Disease, Interventional Pulmonology, Pulmonary Vascular Disease (including venous thromboembolic disease), Thoracic Oncology, and Sleep. We anticipate issuing a Request for Proposals in select areas from these domains in the Spring of 2022, allowing CHEST members the opportunity to propose topics for which clinical guidance is needed.

As we recommit to the rigorous guideline methodology for which CHEST is known and broaden our impact across the spectrum of chest disease, we seek to ensure CHEST remains the leading resource for evidence-based guidelines in the field of chest medicine.

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