Objectives: Recommendations in clinical practice guidelines (CPG) may differ and cause confusion. Our objective was to appraise CPGs for antifungal treatment of invasive candidiasis (IC) in non-neutropenic critically ill adult patients.
Methods: We systematically searched the literature for CPGs published between 2008 and 2018. We assessed the quality of each guideline using six domains of the AGREE II instrument. We extracted and compared recommendations for different treatment strategies and assessed content quality.
Results: Of 19 guidelines, the mean overall AGREE II score was 58%. The domain ‘clarity of presentation’ received the highest scores (88%) and ‘applicability’ the lowest (18%). CPGs provided detailed recommendations on antifungal prophylaxis (n = 10), with fluconazole recommended as initial prophylaxis in all seven CPGs citing a specific drug. Echinocandin was recommended as the initial drug in all 16 CPGs supporting empirical/pre-emptive treatment; and in 18 of 19 for targeted invasive candidiasis treatment. However, it remains unclear when to initiate prophylaxis, empirical or pre-emptive therapy or when to step down.
Conclusions: The methodological quality of CPGs for antifungal treatment of IC in non-neutropenic critically ill patients is suboptimal. Some treatment recommendations were inconsistent across indications and require local guidance to help clinicians make better informed decisions.