Obstetric Recommendations in American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletins versus UpToDate: a comparison

Am J Perinatol. 2015 Apr;32(5):427-44. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1396684. Epub 2014 Dec 29.


Objective: To compare the obstetric recommendations in American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) practice bulletins (PB) with similar topics in UpToDate (UTD).

Study design: We accessed all obstetric PB and cross-searched UTD (May 1999-May 2013). We analyzed only the PB which had corresponding UTD chapter with graded recommendations (level A-C). To assess comparability of recommendations for each obstetric topic, two maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) subspecialists categorized the statement as similar, dissimilar, or incomparable. Simple and weighted kappa statistics were calculated to assess agreement between the two raters.

Results: We identified 46 ACOG obstetric PB and 86 UTD chapters. There were 50% fewer recommendations in UTD than in PB (181 vs. 365). The recommendations being categorized as level A, B, or C was significantly different (p < 0.001) for the two guidelines. While the overall concordance rate between the two MFM subspecialists was 83% regarding the recommendations for the same topic as similar, dissimilar, or incomparable, the agreement was moderate (kappa, 0.56; 95% confidence intervals, 0.48-0.65).

Conclusion: Though obstetricians have two sources for graded recommendations, incongruity among them may be a source of consternation. Congruent recommendations from ACOG and UTD could enhance compliance and potentially optimize outcomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Research Design
  • Societies, Medical*
  • United States