Procedural pain assessment and management have been extensively studied through multiple research studies over the past decade. Results of this research have been included in numerous pediatric pain practice guidelines.
To systematically review the quality of existing practice guidelines for acute procedural pain in children and provide recommendations for their use.
A systematic search was conducted on Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Scopus from 2000 to July 2013. A gray literature search was also conducted through the Translating Research Into Practice database, Guidelines International Network database, and National Guideline Clearinghouse. Four reviewers rated relevant guidelines using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II Instrument. Screening of guidelines, assessment of methodological quality, and data abstraction were conducted by 2 pairs of raters. Disagreements in overall assessments were resolved through consensus.
Eighteen guidelines from 4930 retrieved abstracts were included in this study. Based on the AGREE II domains, the guidelines generally scored high in the scope and purpose and clarity of presentation areas. Information on the rigor of guideline development, applicability, and editorial independence were specified infrequently. Four of the 18 guidelines provided tools to help clinicians apply the recommendations in practice settings; 5 were recommended for use in clinical settings, and the remaining 13 were recommended for use with modification.
Despite the increasing availability of clinical practice guidelines for procedural pain in children, the majority are of average quality. More transparency and comprehensive reporting are needed for the guideline development process.