Bridging evidence and consensus methodology for inherited metabolic disorders: creating nutrition guidelines

J Eval Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;19(4):584-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01807.x. Epub 2011 Dec 13.


Rationale, aims and objectives: The management of many inherited metabolic disorders (IMDs) is dependent on nutrition intervention, but few clinical management guidelines for these uncommon disorders exist. Clinicians are forced to make nutrition treatment decisions using limited data. This results in clinical variations in both service and cost. We describe a method for establishing management guidelines to help clinicians treat patients with IMDs.

Methods: The Southeast Newborn Screening and Genetics Collaborative (Region 3) convened a group of nine national experts in metabolic nutrition to determine the pertinent issues in the development of nutrition management guidelines for IMDs. These experts were trained in evidence analysis and examined established consensus techniques for guideline development.

Results: The workgroup developed a multi-step process for guideline development known as the Delphi-Nominal Group-Delphi-Field Testing methodology, which includes a review of scientific and grey (unpublished) literature, a Delphi survey of practice, a nominal group meeting to clarify discrepancies, a formulation of recommendations and a second Delphi round to assess the degree of consensus with the proposed recommendations. External review and field testing are also built into the process.

Conclusion: The evidence- and consensus-based method suggested for the development of nutrition management guidelines for IMDs will result in the production of consistent and accessible guidelines that can be created in a timely and cost-effective manner and offer a validated methodology to develop management guidelines for this field to optimize outcomes.

Keywords: Delphi method; consensus method; evidence-based; inborn error of metabolism; inherited metabolic disorder; nominal technique; nutrition; practice guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique
  • Diet Therapy / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diet therapy*
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*