Background: Diabetes-related foot disease (DFD) is a leading cause of the Australian disease burden. The 2011 Australian DFD guidelines were outdated. We aimed to develop methodology for systematically adapting suitable international guidelines to the Australian context to become the new Australian evidence-based guidelines for DFD.
Methods: We followed the Australian National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for adapting guidelines. We systematically searched for all international DFD guideline records. All identified records were independently screened and assessed for eligibility. Those deemed eligible were further assessed and included if scoring at least moderate quality, suitability and currency using AGREE II and NHMRC instruments. The included international guidelines had all recommendations extracted into six sub-fields: prevention, wound classification, peripheral artery disease, infection, offloading and wound healing. Six national panels, each comprising 6–8 multidisciplinary national experts, screened all recommendations within their sub-field for acceptability and applicability in Australia using an ADAPTE form. Where panels were unsure of any acceptability and applicability items, full assessments were undertaken using a GRADE Evidence to Decision tool. Recommendations were adopted, adapted, or excluded, based on the agreement between the panel’s and international guideline’s judgements. Each panel drafted a guideline that included all their recommendations, rationale, justifications, and implementation considerations. All underwent public consultation, final revision, and approval by national peak bodies.
Results: We screened 182 identified records, assessed 24 full text records, and after further quality, suitability, and currency assessment, one record was deemed a suitable international guideline, the International Working Group Diabetic Foot Guidelines (IWGDF guidelines). The six panels collectively assessed 100 IWGDF recommendations, with 71 being adopted, 27 adapted, and two excluded for the Australian context. We received 47 public consultation responses with > 80% (strongly) agreeing that the guidelines should be approved, and ten national peak bodies endorsed the final six guidelines. The six guidelines and this protocol can be found at: https://www.diabetesfeetaustralia.org/new-guidelines/
Conclusion: New Australian evidence-based guidelines for DFD have been developed for the first time in a decade by adapting suitable international guidelines. The methodology developed for adaptation may be useful for other foot-related conditions. These new guidelines will now serve as the national multidisciplinary best practice standards of DFD care in Australia.