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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2003 Aug;10(4):S1-S10.

European guidelines on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice: third joint task force of European and other societies on cardiovascular disease prevention in clinical practice (constituted by representatives of eight societies and by invited experts).

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European Society of Cardiology.


Guidelines aim to present all the relevant evidence on a particular issue in order to help physicians to weigh the benefits and risks of a particular diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. They should be helpful in everyday clinical decision-making. A great number of guidelines have been issued in recent years by different organisations--European Society of Cardiology (ESC), American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology (ACC), and other related societies. By means of links to web sites of National Societies several hundred guidelines are available. This profusion can put at stake the authority and validity of guidelines, which can only be guaranteed if they have been developed by an unquestionable decision-making process. This is one of the reasons why the ESC and others have issued recommendations for formulating and issuing guidelines. In spite of the fact that standards for issuing good quality guidelines are well defined, recent surveys of guidelines published in peer-reviewed journals between 1985 and 1998 have shown that methodological standards were not complied with in the vast majority of cases. It is therefore of great importance that guidelines and recommendations are presented in formats that are easily interpreted. Subsequently, their implementation programmes must also be well conducted. Attempts have been made to determine whether guidelines improve the quality of clinical practice and the utilisation of health resources. In addition, the legal implications of medical guidelines have been discussed and examined, resulting in position documents, which have been published by a specific task force. The ESC Committee for practice guidelines (CPG) supervises and coordinates the preparation of new guidelines and expert consensus documents produced by task forces, expert groups or consensus panels. The Committee is also responsible for the endorsement of these guidelines or statements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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