To the Editor:—
The Cochrane Collaboration is an international not-for-profit organization that aims to help people make well-informed decisions about health care by preparing, maintaining, and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. 1The 51 collaborative review groups within the Cochrane Collaboration, each covering a specific area of health care, produce the main work of the collaboration: producing systematic reviews; publishing the results of these systematic reviews in the Cochrane Library and international journals; manually searching the literature for randomized, controlled trials and controlled clinical trials in field-specific journals; and maintaining a specialized register, which includes trials identified through manual searching and electronic searching of databases.
In autumn of 1997, a group of anesthesiologists at Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen, in cooperation with the Nordic Cochrane Center, began exploring the possibility of forming an anesthesia review group. At that time, anesthesiology was one of the few areas of medical practice not represented within the Cochrane Collaboration. The first preliminary meeting was held during the 6th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Anesthesiologists in 1998, and an international cooperation began. Further informational meetings were held during the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Orlando in 1998 and at the 6th Cochrane Colloquium in Baltimore in 1998. The Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group was registered within the Cochrane Collaboration in February 2000, with its editorial office based in the Department of Anesthesiology of Bispebjerg University Hospital. The editorial team is composed of anesthesiologists from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Additionally, there are approximately 300 international physicians and other healthcare providers who produce protocols and reviews, peer referee, and perform manual searches.
The scope of the Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group encompasses anesthesia, perioperative medicine, postanesthetic care, intensive care medicine, prehospital medicine, resuscitation, and emergency medicine. The current list of topics for systematic reviews represents clinical practice in relation to current, past, and potential interventions. The purpose of the Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group is to produce systematic reviews, identify the effects of interventions in anesthesiology, and help clinicians and others make well-informed decisions about these interventions. Current reviews and protocols being prepared by members of the Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group are listed in table 1.
The Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group welcomes all individuals with an interest in evidence-based medicine. 2–3Volunteers are needed to manually search journals, peer referee protocols and reviews before publication, assist with methodology and statistical analysis, and prepare systematic reviews. Further information about the Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group is available at the Web site, www.cochrane-anaesthesia.suite.dk.