Reporting quality of randomized controlled trial abstracts presented at European Orthodontic Society congresses

Eur J Orthod. 2016 Dec;38(6):584-592. doi: 10.1093/ejo/cjv094. Epub 2015 Dec 27.


Objectives: To assess the reporting quality of randomized controlled trial (RCT) abstracts presented at the European Orthodontic Society (EOS) congresses, investigate any improvement after the release of CONSORT (CONsolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials) for Abstracts guidelines, and identify factors associated with reporting quality.

Methods: Abstract books of the 2003-07 (Pre-CONSORT period) and 2010-14 (Post-CONSORT period) EOS congresses were obtained from the official website of European Journal of Orthodontics. A hand-search was conducted to identify RCTs. Reporting quality was assessed and scored using the original 17-item CONSORT for Abstracts checklist. Risk ratio and the t-test were used to compare the adequate reporting rate of each item and the overall quality in two periods, respectively. Univariate and multivariate regressions were used to identify predictors of reporting quality.

Results: A total of 138 RCT abstracts were included and assessed. The mean overall CONSORT score was 4.10 (SD: 1.32) and 4.48 (1.31) in the Pre- and Post-CONSORT samples, respectively [P = 0.099; mean difference, -0.39 (95% CI: -0.84, 0.07)]. Only three CONSORT items ('objective', 'interventions', and 'conclusions') were adequately reported in most abstracts (>75 per cent). No abstract provided information regarding the corresponding author, trial registration, and source of funding. Less than 1.5 per cent of the included abstracts sufficiently reported 'randomization', 'recruitment', and 'outcome in the results section'. In the multivariate analysis, greater word count (P = 0.036) and provision of the exact P value (P = 0.006) were significantly associated with higher reporting quality.

Limitations: Our final regression model can explain only about 8 per cent of the variance of reporting quality. Other predictors not included in this study may be investigated in analogous studies.

Conclusions: The reporting quality of RCT abstracts presented at EOS congresses was suboptimal. Joint efforts by authors and conference committees to improve reporting are needed.