Objectives: To assess the type of evidence that supported our management of surgical patients.
Design: Retrospective audit.
Setting: Teaching hospital, Republic of Ireland.
Patients: All 222 patients admitted by two surgical teams during one month. Patients admitted for diagnostic procedures were included if they were treated as a result.
Main outcome measures: Diagnosis and treatment were established from the notes. Evidence for each intervention was then sought in MEDLINE 1986-1999, Best Evidence 1991-1999, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 3, 1999, and graded into one of five categories: systematic review, meta-analysis, randomised controlled trial, prospective study, or retrospective study.
Results: Treatment was supported by systematic review in 14, by meta-analysis in 12, by randomised controlled trial in 75, by prospective studies in 55, by retrospective studies in 58, and by no evidence in 8.
Conclusions: Everyday surgical practice in our unit is supported by good quality evidence from recent publications.