Background: Neonatal jaundice is a very frequent condition that occurs in approximately 50-70% of term or near-term (>35 GA) babies in the 1st week of life. In some cases, a high bilirubin blood level can lead to kernicterus. There is no consensus for the management of neonatal jaundice and few countries have published national clinical practice guidelines for the management of neonatal jaundice. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of these guidelines.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature for national clinical practice guidelines for the management of neonatal jaundice in term or near-term babies. Four independent reviewers assessed the quality of each guideline using the AGREE II evaluation. For each of the clinical practice guidelines, the management modalities were analyzed (screening, treatment, follow-up, etc.).
Results: Seven national clinical practice guidelines were found (South Africa, USA AAP, UK NICE, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, and Israel). The AGREE II score showed widespread variation regarding the quality of these national guidelines. There was no major difference between the guidelines concerning the clinical management of these babies.
Discussion: The NICE guideline is the most valuable guideline regarding the AGREE II score. NICE showed that, despite a strong and rigorous methodology, there is no evidenced-based recommended code of practice (RCP). Comparing RCPs, we found no major differences.
Conclusion: The NICE guideline showed the best quality. The AGREE II instrument should be used as a framework when developing clinical practice guidelines to improve the quality of the future guideline. In France, a national guideline is needed for a more standardized management of neonatal jaundice.
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