BackgroundSurgical randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have potential drawbacks, leading some to question their role in filling the information gap in orthopaedic surgery. Pragmatism in study design was introduced to increase the clinical applicability of study results. The purpose of this study was to examine how pragmatism affects the scholarly influence of surgical RCTs.
MethodsA search for surgical hip fracture-related RCTs published between 1995 and 2015 was done. Journal impact factor, citation number, research question, significance and type of outcome, number of centers involved, and the Pragmatic-Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary-2 level of pragmatism score were recorded for each study. Scholarly influence was estimated by a study's inclusion into orthopaedic literature or guidelines or through the study's average yearly citation rate.
ResultsOne hundred sixty RCTs were included in the final analysis. A multivariate logistic regression identified large study sample size as the only predictor of an RCT being used in clinical guidance texts. Large sample size and multicenter RCTs were predictors of high yearly citation rates. The level of pragmatism in study design did not predict scholarly influence.
ConclusionsPragmatic design is not independently associated with increased scholarly influence; however, large study sample size was the most important study characteristic affecting scholarly influence.