When the number of patients receiving ECMO support and ECMO centres sharply increased, many ECMO guidance documents were published.
High-quality guidance documents can provide explicit recommendations to healthcare professionals and improve the outcomes of patients, whereas low-quality guidance documents might mislead clinical practice or restrict the promotion of guidance documents.
The rigour of the methodology, and an adequate dissemination and implementation strategy, are important components of high-quality guidance documents.
However, the quality of published ECMO guidance documents has not been systematically reviewed, which could confuse healthcare professionals when choosing reliable guidance documents and recommendations in clinical practice.
After online training, three appraisers independently assessed the quality of guidance documents using the AGREE II instrument.
Double weight was assigned to domain 3 (rigour of development) and domain 5 (applicability).
A guidance document was ‘recommended’ if the overall score was >60%, whereas the scores of ‘recommended with modifications’ were between 30% and 60%. A guidance document was ‘not recommended’ if the overall score was <30%. In addition, we defined a guidance document as high quality if the scaled domain score was >70% for domain 3 and >50% for all other domains.