Quality of reporting of the literature on gastrointestinal reflux after repair of esophageal atresia–tracheoesophageal fistula
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OBJECTIVES: There is variation in the management of postoperative gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in esophageal atresia-tracheoesophageal fistula (EA-TEF). Well-reported literature is important for clinical decision-making. We assessed the quality of reporting (QOR) of postoperative GER management in EA-TEF. METHODS: A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINHAL, CENTRAL databases and gray literature was conducted. Included articles reported a primary diagnosis of EA-TEF, a secondary diagnosis of postoperative GER, and primary treatment of GER with antireflux medications. The QOR was assessed using the STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist. RESULTS: Retrieval of 2910 articles resulted in 48 relevant articles (N=2592 patients) with an overall quality percentage score of 48%-95% (median=65%). The best reported items were "participants" and "outcome data" (93.8% each), "generalisability" (91.7%) and "background/rationale" (89.6%). Less than 20% of studies provided detailed "main results"; less than 5% of studies reported adequately on "bias" or "funding." Sample size calculation and study limitations were included in 17 (35.4%) and 16 (33.3%) studies respectively. Follow-up time was inconsistently reported. CONCLUSIONS: Although the overall QOR is moderate using STROBE, important areas are underreported. Inadequate methodological reporting may lead to inappropriate clinical decisions. Awareness of STROBE, emphasizing proper reporting is needed.
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