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EULAR recommendations for knee and hip osteoarthritis: a critique of the methodology
  1. W Zhang,
  2. M Doherty
  1. Academic Rheumatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Doherty
 Academic Rheumatology, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; michael.doherty{at}


The quality of the EULAR recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) was evaluated using a validated instrument. The quality and methods were compared with other guidelines and recommendations. EULAR recommendations were found to be among the best for overall quality. They show strengths with respect to scope, rigour of development, and clarity, but weaknesses with respect to stakeholder involvement, applicability, and editorial independence. However, a principal strength is their attempt to fill the gap between guidelines based solely on either research evidence or expert opinion. The methods used to synthesise research evidence (systematic review) and expert opinion (Delphi exercise) are robust. Strength of recommendation, based on combined consideration of research evidence, clinical expertise, and perceived patient preference, is valid and approaches the true essence of “evidence based practice” that considers each of these different forms of evidence.

  • ACR, American College of Rheumatology
  • EULAR, European League Against Rheumatism
  • NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • OA, osteoarthritis
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial
  • SOR, strength of recommendation
  • VAS, visual analogue scale
  • hip
  • knee
  • osteoarthritis
  • guidelines

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  • Competing interests: none declared