Journal Article Reporting of critical care trial abstracts: a comparison before and after the announcement of CONSORT guideline for abstracts

Kuriyama, Akira  ,  Takahashi, Naomi  ,  Nakayama, Takeo

182017-01-21 , BioMed Central Ltd.
Background: An extension of the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement provides a checklist of items to improve the reporting quality of abstracts of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). However, authors of abstracts in some fields have poorly adhered to this guideline. We did an extensive literature survey to examine the quality of reporting trial abstracts in major critical care journals before and after announcement of the CONSORT guideline for abstracts. Methods: We reviewed abstracts of RCTs published in four major critical care journals with publication dates ranging from 2006 to 2007 (pre-CONSORT) and from 2011 to 2012 (post-CONSORT): Intensive Care Medicine (ICM), Critical Care (CC), American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM), and Critical Care Medicine (CCM). For each item in the CONSORT guideline for abstracts, we considered that an abstract was well-reported when it reported a relevant item and adhered to the guideline. Our primary outcomes were to describe the proportion of abstracts that adhered to the guideline for each item in each period and the changes between the two periods. Pearson's chi-square analysis was performed to compare adherence to the guideline between the two periods. Results: Our inclusion criteria yielded 185 and 166 abstracts from pre- and post-CONSORT periods, respectively. Less than 50% of abstracts adequately reported trial design (16.3%), participants (44.0%), outcomes in methods (49.4%), randomization (1.8%), blinding (4.2%), numbers randomized (37.4%) and analyzed (8.4%), recruitment (4.2%), outcomes in results (16.9%), harms (27.7%), trial registration (42.2%), and funding (13.9%) in the recent period. There was significant improvement in reporting title, primary outcomes in both methods and results, interventions, harms, trial registration, and funding between the two periods (p < 0.05). Improvements were seen in reporting of participants in the Methods sections in CCM, as well as in outcomes in results and trial registration in AJRCCM and CCM, between the two periods. A significant decline was noted in reporting of interventions in Methods sections in AJRCCM and ICM, as well as the numbers randomized in Results sections in CC, over time. Conclusions: Reporting of some items in abstracts for critical care trials improved over time, but the adherence to the CONSORT guideline for abstracts was still suboptimal.

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