Are American follow-up recommendations in endocrinology actionable? A systematic review of clinical practice guidelines

Francisco J. Barrera, Karina Raygoza-Cortez, Mariana García-Leal, Juan P. Brito, Naykky M. Singh Ospina, René Rodríguez-Gutiérrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Clinical guidelines include recommendations to guide patient’s longitudinal care. These recommendations may differ in content and quality of supporting evidence from those guiding diagnosis and treatment. We aimed to identify recommendations guiding the follow-up of patients with endocrine conditions, describe their content and quality of evidence. Methods: We systematically assessed the Endocrine Society and the American Thyroid Association clinical guidelines and identified recommendations guiding follow-up strategies to evaluate direction, content, strength, and quality of evidence. Results: Out of 1540 recommendations, 138(8.9%) guided follow-up strategies. From these, 109 (79%) recommendations included goal of follow-up, 121(97.7%) suggested follow-up methods, and 56 (40.6%) a specific monitoring frequency. A total of 76 (55.1%) assessed treatment response, 65 (47.1%) disease progression, and 30 (21.7%) side effects. A total of 90 (65.2%) described the use of laboratory studies, 30 (21.7%) clinical exam/history, and 27 (19.6%) imaging studies. Finally, 91 (65.9%) suggested a monitoring time interval and 42 (30.4%) directed an action based on results. Most recommendations [88 (55.3%)] were based on low/very low-quality evidence. A total of 73 (52.9%) recommendations were labeled as strong, from which 12% were based on high-quality evidence. Conclusions: One out of ten clinical recommendations for endocrine conditions guide follow-up and their content is variable. More than half of the follow-up recommendations are supported by low/very low-quality evidence and the majority does not provide an action threshold. A specific framework for developing follow-up recommendations can aid guideline panelists and support evidence-based monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-384
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021


  • American Thyroid Association
  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Endocrine Society
  • Evidence-based medicine
  • Follow-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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