Evaluation of the Quality of Publications on Randomized Clinical Trials Using the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement Guidelines in a Spanish Tertiary Hospital

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The main reason for conducting a clinical trial (CT) is to test the effect of a drug or medical procedure to improve treatment of a disease. CTs contribute most when they are rigorously conducted and the results are published adequately. The aim of this study is to assess, using the CONSORT statement guidelines, the quality of reporting of completed CTs conducted at a tertiary hospital to determine which sections of the articles should be improved. CTs published between 2002 and 2008 were identified by searching the MEDLINE and Cochrane Library. Forty of 127 completed CTs were published. There was a marked increase in the number of articles and the quality of the journals that published the CTs over time. Although the articles were published in high-impact index journals, the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) score reporting quality of the articles varied substantially, which indicates that they should be improved. The title, abstract, introduction, and discussion sections received the highest CONSORT scores and need little improvement. Poor reporting of methodological details and discussion on limitations and strengths were observed. In conclusion, much improvement remains to be made in the quality of reporting of CTs to allow reliable quality assessment of published trials.

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