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Assessment of the quality of reporting for treatment components in Cochrane reviews of acupuncture

Date and Location




Sunday 22 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Kun Hyung Kim

Contact person

Kun Hyung Kim
Abstract text
Background: Highquality reporting of treatment details can aid replication of study results in real-world clinical practice. The revised Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) is a reporting guideline for key elements of acupuncture interventions in clinical trials. Objectives: This study used STRICTA to investigate whether Cochrane reviews of acupuncture adequately report important treatment details. Methods:Cochrane reviews of acupuncture were identified from The Cochrane Library (Issue 7, 2012). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) included in the reviews and published after 2005 were obtained. Using STRICTA, we extracted acupuncture-related information from both the Cochrane reviews and the RCTs. The Characteristics of included studies table was the major source of intervention information from Cochrane reviews. Reporting quality of acupuncture interventions in Cochrane reviews was assessed and compared to the respective RCTs. Results: In total, 25 Cochrane reviews of acupuncture and 92 RCTs met the selection criteria. Cochrane reviews were 16% less likely to report the acupuncture-related items of STRICTA than RCTs (risk ratio 0.84, 95% confidence interval 0.79 to 0.88, I2=8%) (Figure 1). Information was significantly better reported for 10 of the 15 treatment-group items of STRICTA in RCTs than in Cochrane reviews (p<0.05), while four items did so without statistical significance. One item related to practitioner background was significantly better reported in Cochrane reviews. Conclusions: Reporting quality of treatment details in Cochrane reviews of acupuncture was insufficient with regard to STRICTA, even though such information was readily reported in RCTs. The overall quality of reporting of the RCTs, while better than the reviews, was also often suboptimal. Use of the STRICTA guideline during the review process is recommended to adequately report the key treatment components in Cochrane reviews of acupuncture. The potential impact of STRICTA to the external validity and generalizability of reviews needs to be investigated.