Short ESPEN guideline history

Since 1997, ESPEN publishes guidelines and position papers on a regulatory basis in Clinical Nutrition.

The methodology and quality of the currently published guidelines varied fairly. Because of this reason, but also because the two major bundles of ESPEN guidelines, that on enteral nutrition in adults from 2006, and that on parenteral nutrition in adults from 2009 expired, ESPEN launched a new guideline concept in 2010 proposed for four years. The concept was focused on ‘Medical nutrition’ that aims to prevent and treat malnutrition in the context of diseases. This ‘disease-specific guideline framework’ does no more separate enteral and parenteral nutrition. Instead, a comprehensive approach comprising screening, assessment, nutritional counseling, oral nutritional supplements, as well as enteral and parenteral nutrition is envisioned.

This concept was launched by the authors of the invited editorial on , S. Schneider and J. C. Preiser, who initiated five working groups on different topics (cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, dementia, and chronic intestinal failure) that largely completed their work expected to be published 2015 in Clinical Nutrition. The guideline process was shortly described in the editorial; however, it could not be fully brought into practice. Thus, the process of these five guidelines was not fully standardized yet. Therefore, ESPEN decided to re-launch the guideline process with a modified methodology adapted from a German Guidance Manual from the AWMF (Association of the Scientific Medical Societies of Germany) published in 2015 by SC Bischoff and colleagues..

The details of the new methodology that aims to create both evidence and consensus-based guidelines (so-called “S3 guidelines”) according to the AWMF nomenclature with a high scientific and methodological standard are presented in a standard operating procedure (à Please link these words to the SOP document shown below). The ESPEN Guideline SOP will underlie all future ESPEN guidelines and position papers to ensure maximal quality and coherence. All ESPEN guidelines and position papers will be finally approved by the ESPEN Executive Committee (ExeCom).

In 2018, ESPEN received a grant from the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) for the dissemination of the guidelines. This grant was the starting shot for a broad dissemination campaign, comprising app versions and national language versions. The basis for all dissemination steps are the so-called practical guidelines. These guidelines are based on the original scientific guidelines, but with shorter commentary texts, making them more comfortable for everyday clinical practice. The recommendations remain unchanged. Not only the commentaries are shortened, but also algorithms are created, that help practitioners navigate quickly through the guideline.

In 2021, ESPEN began with the updating process of guidelines published since 2015. Step by step, all scientific guidelines will be updated to ensure compliance with the current state of research.

History of ESPEN Guidelines

Standard operating procedures for ESPEN guidelines and consensus papers

Stephan C. Bischoff, Pierre Singer, Michael Koller, Rocco Barazzoni, Tommy Cederholm, André van Gossum

Clinical Nutrition 34 (2015) 1043-1051

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Invitation to propose guideline by ESPEN members

ESPEN invites all society members to propose topics for new guidelines. If you want to make proposals please contact the guideline office or the guideline officers (à Contact).

If you are interested in joining a guideline group, please contact us. Also ESPEN member National PEN societies can make proposals for guidelines.

ESPEN member National PEN societies and their members are welcome to translate ESPEN guidelines into their national languages and to re-publish the translations. If you are interested please contact the guideline offce.

Support by the ESPEN guideline office

All nominated guideline group leaders can ask for support by the guideline office in organizing group meetings or consensus conferences, preferentially during the annual congresses, in creating evidence tables or in finalizing manuscripts prior to publication. All manuscripts need to be approved by at least one of the guideline officers and the guideline office. The guideline office can also provide technical support when using an exchange platform during work of for electronic voting systems.