Background: Most clinical guidelines are developed by high-income country institutions with little consideration given to either the evidence base for interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), or the specific challenges LMIC health systems may face in implementing recommendations. The aim of this study was to prioritize topics for future global surgery guidelines and then to develop a guideline for the top ranked topic. Methods: A Delphi exercise identified and prioritized topics for guideline development. Once the top priority topic had been identified, relevant existing guidelines were identified and their recommendations were extracted. Recommendations were shortlisted if they were supported by at least two separate guidelines. Following two voting rounds, the final recommendations were agreed by an international guideline panel. The final recommendations were stratified by the guideline panel as essential (baseline measures that should be implemented as a priority) or desirable (some hospitals may lack these resources at present, in which case they should plan for future implementation). Results: Prevention of surgical-site infection (SSI) after abdominal surgery was identified as the highest priority topic for guideline development. The international guideline panel reached consensus on nine essential clinical recommendations for prevention of SSI. These included recommendations concerning preoperative body wash, use of prophylactic antibiotics, decontamination of scrub teams' hands, use of antiseptic solutions for surgical site preparation and perioperative supplemental oxygenation. In addition, three desirable clinical recommendations and four recommendations for future research were agreed. Conclusion: This process led to the development of a global surgery guideline for the prevention of SSI that is both clinically relevant and implementable in LMICs.
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