The Evidence

An important aspect in medicine today is the concept of controlled clinical trials and evidence-based medicine. Evidence-based medicine enables the practitioner to assess the scientific validity and practical relevance of articles that are read, and if appropriate, put the results into practice. These are the constituents of the skills needed for evidence-based medicine. The definition of evidence-based medicine is:

. . . the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.

In deciding the best treatment for diverticular disease information needs to be converted into questions that can be answered:

• Find with maximum efficiency the best evidence, which can be from clinical examination, diagnostics, published literature or other sources.

• The evidence needs to be appraised critically to assess validity and applicability.

• Finally, implementation of the search needs to be used in the clinical practice and the performance evaluated.

The best international source regarding evidence on the effects of common clinical interventions in diverticular disease is available in Clinical Evidence Concise (BMA, 2003). This summarizes the current state of knowledge and uncertainties about the prevention and treatment of clinical conditions, based on thorough searches and appraisal of the literature describing the best available evidence from systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

The most recent evidence for the treatment of uncomplicated diverticular disease from systematic searches in October 2002 is divided into sections.

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