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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet].

Prediction tools for unfavourable outcomes in Clostridium difficile infection: a systematic review

Review published: 2012.

Bibliographic details: Abou Chakra CN, Pepin J, Valiquette L.  Prediction tools for unfavourable outcomes in Clostridium difficile infection: a systematic review. PLOS ONE 2012; 7(1): e30258. [PMC free article: PMC3265469] [PubMed: 22291926]


CONTEXT: Identifying patients at risk for adverse outcomes of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), including recurrence and death, will become increasingly important as novel therapies emerge, which are more effective than traditional approaches but very expensive. Clinical prediction rules (CPRs) can improve the accuracy of medical decision-making. Several CPRs have been developed for CDI, but none has gained a widespread acceptance.

METHODS: We systematically reviewed studies describing the derivation or validation of CPRs for unfavourable outcomes of CDI, in medical databases (Medline, Embase, PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane) and abstracts of conferences.

RESULTS: Of 2945 titles and abstracts screened, 13 studies on the derivation of a CPR were identified: two on recurrences, five on complications (including mortality), five on mortality alone and one on response to treatment. Two studies on the validation of different severity indices were also retrieved. Most CPRs were developed as secondary analyses using cohorts assembled for other purposes. CPRs presented several methodological limitations that could explain their limited use in clinical practice. Except for leukocytosis, albumin and age, there was much heterogeneity in the variables used, and most studies were limited by small sample sizes. Eight models used a retrospective design. Only four studies reported the incidence of the outcome of interest, even if this is essential to evaluate the potential usefulness of a model in other populations. Only five studies performed multivariate analyses to adjust for confounders.

CONCLUSIONS: The lack of weighing variables, of validation, calibration and measures of reproducibility, the weak validities and performances when assessed, and the absence of sensitivity analyses, all led to suboptimal quality and debatable utility of those CPRs. Evidence-based tools developed through appropriate prospective cohorts would be more valuable for clinicians than empirically-developed CPRs.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.

PMID: 22291926

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