Assessing the quality of reports of systematic reviews in pediatric complementary and alternative medicine

BMC Pediatr. 2002;2:3. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-2-3. Epub 2002 Feb 27.


Objective: To examine the quality of reports of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) systematic reviews in the pediatric population. We also examined whether there were differences in the quality of reports of a subset of CAM reviews compared to reviews using conventional interventions.

Methods: We assessed the quality of reports of 47 CAM systematic reviews and 19 reviews evaluating a conventional intervention. The quality of each report was assessed using a validated 10-point scale.

Results: Authors were particularly good at reporting: eligibility criteria for including primary studies, combining the primary studies for quantitative analysis appropriately, and basing their conclusions on the data included in the review. Reviewers were weak in reporting: how they avoided bias in the selection of primary studies, and how they evaluated the validity of the primary studies. Overall the reports achieved 43% (median = 3) of their maximum possible total score. The overall quality of reporting was similar for CAM reviews and conventional therapy ones.

Conclusions: Evidence based health care continues to make important contributions to the well being of children. To ensure the pediatric community can maximize the potential use of these interventions, it is important to ensure that systematic reviews are conducted and reported at the highest possible quality. Such reviews will be of benefit to a broad spectrum of interested stakeholders.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Registries
  • Research / standards
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Sex Distribution