Improvement in the quality of abstracts in major clinical journals since CONSORT extension for abstracts: A systematic review Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: We sought to determine if the publication of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT)(1) extension for abstracts in 2008 had led to an improvement in reporting abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).(2) METHODS: We searched PubMed for RCTs published in 2007 and 2012 in top-tier general medicine journals. A random selection of 100 trial abstracts was obtained for each year. Data were extracted in duplicate on the adherence to the CONSORT extension for abstracts. The primary outcome was the mean number of items reported and the secondary outcome was the odds of reporting each item. We also estimated incidence rate ratios (IRRs).(3) RESULTS: Significantly more checklist items were reported in 2012 than in 2007: adjusted mean difference was 2.91 (95% confidence interval [CI](4) 2.35, 3.41; p<0.001). In 2012 there were significant improvements in reporting the study as randomized in the title, describing the trial design, the participants, and objectives and blinding. In the Results section, trial status and numbers analyzed were also reported better. The IRRs were significantly higher for 2012 (IRR 1.32; 95% CI 1.25, 1.39; p<0.001) and in multisite studies compared to single site studies (IRR 1.08; 95% CI 1.03, 1.15; p=0.006). CONCLUSIONS: There was a significant improvement in the reporting of abstracts of RCTs in 2012 compared to 2007. However, there is still room for improvement as some items remain under-reported.

publication date

  • July 2014