Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture (1997-2007): An Assessment of Reporting Quality with a CONSORT- and STRICTA-Based Instrument

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011:2011:183910. doi: 10.1155/2011/183910. Epub 2010 Oct 3.


The present study describes the development of a comprehensive quality of reporting assessment tool and its application to acupuncture RCTs from 1997-2007. This Oregon CONSORT STRICTA Instrument (OCSI) is based on the revised CONSORT guidelines as modified by the STRICTA recommendations for acupuncture trials. Each of the resulting 27 OCSI items were applied to English language prospective RCTs that compared acupuncture, using manual and/or electro-stimulation, to no treatment, a sham procedure, or usual biomedical care. The 333 RCTs that met inclusion criteria were dispersed among 27 countries and 141 journals. Mean quality of reporting score for all articles was 63.0% (SD 16.5). Mean OCSI scores revealed a 30.9% improvement over the ten-year period (P < .001). Our findings suggest that to enhance quality of reporting, authors should better attend to seven specific OCSI items in three categories: practitioner training, adverse events, and aspects of randomization and blinding (n = 5). The broad diversity in geographical origin, publication site and quality of reporting, viewed in light of the considerable room for improvement in mean OCSI scores, emphasizes the importance of making STRICTA as well as CONSORT more widely known to journals and to the acupuncture research community.