Reporting standards in cardiac MRI, CT, and SPECT diagnostic accuracy studies: analysis of the impact of STARD criteria

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Abstract

Aims

Diagnostic accuracy studies determine the clinical value of non-invasive cardiac imaging tests. The ‘STAndards for the Reporting of Diagnostic accuracy studies’ (STARD) were published in 2003 to improve the quality of study reporting. We aimed to assess the reporting quality of cardiac computed tomography (CCT), single positron emission computed tomography (SPECT), and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) diagnostic accuracy studies; to evaluate the impact of STARD; and to investigate the relationships between reporting quality, journal impact factor, and study citation index.

Methods and results

We randomly generated six groups of 50 diagnostic accuracy studies: ‘CMR 1995-2002’, ‘CMR 2004-11’, ‘CCT 1995-2002’, ‘CCT 2004-11’, ‘SPECT 1995-2002’, and ‘SPECT 2004-11’. The 300 studies were double-read by two blinded reviewers and reporting quality determined by % adherence to the 25 STARD criteria. Reporting quality increased from 65.3% before STARD to 74.1% after (P = 0.003) in CMR studies and from 61.6 to 79.0% (P < 0.001) in CCT studies. SPECT studies showed no significant change: 71.9% before and 71.5% after STARD (P = 0.92). Journals advising authors to refer to STARD had significantly higher impact factors than those that did not (P = 0.03), and journals with above-median impact factors published studies of significantly higher reporting quality (P < 0.001). Since STARD, citation index has not significantly increased (P = 0.14), but, after adjustment for impact factor, reporting quality continues to increase by ˜1.5% each year.

Conclusion

Reporting standards for diagnostic accuracy studies of non-invasive cardiac imaging are at most satisfactory and have improved since the introduction of STARD. Adherence to STARD should be mandatory for authors of diagnostic accuracy studies.

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