Demographics of Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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There is growing concern regarding conflicts of interest in orthopaedic research and education. Because of their potential influence on orthopaedic practice, conflicts of interest among participants in the educational programs of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) are of particular interest.


We analyzed the voluntarily disclosed conflicts of interest listed in the Final Program of the 2011 Annual Meeting of the AAOS for the relevant program committees as well as for presentations in the disciplines of pediatric orthopaedic surgery, spine, and sports medicine/arthroscopy.


Conflicts of interest were disclosed by participants for each of the program committees and for over 75% of the presentations. Conflicts of interest were disclosed for 100% of the featured symposia, 80% of the scientific exhibits, 76% of the podium presentations, and 75% of the posters. Over half (53%) of the disclosures were for paid consultancy, 51% were for research support for the principal investigator, 41% were for paid presentations, 39% were for royalties, and 39% were for stock. The highest number of disclosures for an individual author was thirty-seven. The number of disclosures per author was significantly (p < 0.001) correlated to the number of presentations per author. Disclosures were associated with 379 different companies; relationships with a relatively small number (twenty-six, 7%) of these companies were listed in the disclosures for 67% of the presentations.


Voluntarily disclosed conflicts of interest were common at the 2011 AAOS Annual Meeting, especially for the featured symposia. In view of the previously documented frequency of undisclosed conflicts of interest, as well as the previously documented effects of conflicts of interest on research design, conduct, and conclusion, it may be time to consider improved strategies for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of disclosure and for managing the biasing effects of conflicts of interest.

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