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Reporting quality of randomised controlled trial abstracts on age-related macular degeneration health care: a cross-sectional quantification of the adherence to CONSORT abstract reporting recommendations
  1. Christine Baulig,
  2. Frank Krummenauer,
  3. Berit Geis,
  4. Sabrina Tulka,
  5. Stephanie Knippschild
  1. Faculty of Health, Institute for Medical Biometry and Epidemiology, Witten/Herdecke University, 58448 Witten, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Prof Dr Christine Baulig; Christine.Baulig{at}


Objective To assess the reporting quality of randomised controlled trial (RCT) abstracts on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) healthcare, to evaluate the adherence to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement’s recommendations on minimum abstract information and to identify journal characteristics associated with abstract reporting quality.

Design Cross-sectional evaluation of RCT abstracts on AMD healthcare.

Methods A PubMed search was implemented to identify RCT abstracts on AMD healthcare published in the English language between January 2004 and December 2013. Data extraction was performed by two parallel readers independently by means of a documentation format in accordance with the 16 items of the CONSORT checklist for abstracts. The total number of criteria fulfilled by an abstract was derived as primary endpoint of the investigation; incidence rate ratios (IRRs) with unadjusted 95% CI were estimated by means of multiple Poisson regression to identify journal and article characteristics (publication year, multicentre design, structured abstract recommendations, effective sample size, effective abstract word counts and journal impact factor) possibly associated with the total number of fulfilled items.

Study characteristics 136 of 673 identified abstracts (published in 36 different journals) fulfilled all eligibility criteria.

Results The median number of fulfilled items was 7 (95% CI 7 to 8). No abstract reported all 16 recommended items; the maximum total number was 14, the minimum 3 of 16 items. Multivariate analysis only demonstrated the abstracts’ word counts as being significantly associated with a better reporting of abstracts (Poisson regression-based IRR 1.002, 95% CI 1.001 to 1.003).

Conclusions Reporting quality of RCT abstracts on AMD investigations showed a considerable potential for improvement to meet the CONSORT abstract reporting recommendations. Furthermore, word counts of abstracts were identified as significantly associated with the overall abstract reporting quality.

  • RCT
  • structured abstract
  • CONSORT statement
  • reporting quality

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  • Contributors Grant application: CB, SK, FK. Study conception and design: CB, SK, FK. Data collection: CB, SK. Abstract selection: CB, SK. Data extraction: CB; SK. Statistical analysis: FK, BG, ST. Data interpretation: CB, SK, FK, BG, ST. Drafting: CB. Critical discussion and manuscript revision: FK, SK. Approval of final version: All authors.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Internal Research Foundation Initiative of the Witten / Herdecke University’s Faculty of Health, comprising a 1-year research position for SK (grant number IFF 2016-001).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data may be obtained from the authors for academic purposes.

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