Guideline Services


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 of 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 ESPEN disease-specific guideline framework, 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 been 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. This manual derived from the AWMF (Association of the Scientific Medical Societies of Germany) served successfully for the German guidelines on clinical nutrition published since 2013 (

The details of the new methodology that aims to create so-called “S3 guidelines” according to the AWMF nomenclature with a high scientific and methodological standard is presented in a standard operation procedure, which you can find here . 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 reviewed by the ESPEN Guidelines Editorial board (GEB) and finally approved by the ESPEN Executive Committee (ExeCom). At present, the GEB members are Stephan C. Bischoff and Pierre Singer (GEB chairmen), André van Gossum (ESPEN chairman), Michael Koller (methodologist), and Tommy Cederholm.

Any questions? – contact the ESPEN Guideline Office

Professor Stephan C. Bischoff, M.D.
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Nutritional Medicine, Germany

Assoc. Professor Michael Chourdakis, M. D., R. D.
Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece

Professor Arved Weimann, M. D., M. A.
Klinikum St. Georg, Leipzig, Germany

Anna Schweinlin
University of Hohenheim, Germany

Flow chart for the structured generation of an ESPEN guideline.

The procedure consists of 10 milestones. Further explanation in the SOP.


Guidelines Flow Chart



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