Quality Assessment of Meta-analyses Published in Leading Anesthesiology Journals From 2005 to 2014

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Abstract

Meta-analysis, when preceded by a systematic review, is considered the “gold standard” in data aggregation; however, the quality of meta-analyses is often questionable, leading to uncertainty about the accuracy of results. In this study, we evaluate the quality of meta-analyses published in 5 leading anesthesiology journals from 2005 to 2014. A total of 220 meta-analyses published in Anesthesiology, Pain, British Journal of Anaesthesia, Anaesthesia, or Anesthesia & Analgesia were identified for inclusion. The quality of each meta-analysis was determined using the Revised Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (R-AMSTAR). R-AMSTAR rated 11 questions related to systematic reviews and meta-analyses on a scale of 1–4, with 4 representing the highest quality. Overall meta-analyses quality was evaluated using a Spearmen regression analysis and found to positively correlate with time (rs = 0.24, P < .001). Similarly, a temporal association was found for conflict of interest (rs = 0.51, P < .001) and comprised a list of included and excluded studies (rs = 0.32, P < .001). In conclusion, the quality of meta-analyses published in leading anesthesiology journals has increased over the last decade. Furthermore, assessing the scientific quality of included studies in meta-analyses (P = .60) and using this assessment to formulate conclusions and/or recommendations (P = .67) remains relatively low (median R-AMSTAR: 2, interquartile range [IQR]: 2–3]; median R-AMSTAR: 2, IQR: 1–2, respectively).

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