A systematic review of the quality of conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in paediatric surgery

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Objective Our objective was to evaluate quality of conduct and reporting of published systematic reviews and meta-analyses in paediatric surgery. We also aimed to identify characteristics predictive of review quality. Background Systematic reviews summarise evidence by combining sources, but are potentially prone to bias. To counter this, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was published to aid in reporting. Similarly, the Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) measurement tool was designed to appraise methodology. The paediatric surgical literature has seen an increasing number of reviews over the past decade, but quality has not been evaluated. Methods Adhering to PRISMA guidelines, we performed a systematic review with a priori design to identify systematic reviews and meta-analyses of interventions in paediatric surgery. From 01/2010 to 06/2016, we searched: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, Web of Science, Google Scholar, reference lists and journals. Two reviewers independently selected studies and extracted data. We assessed conduct and reporting using AMSTAR and PRISMA. Scores were calculated as the sum of reported items. We also extracted author, journal and article characteristics, and used them in exploratory analysis to determine which variables predict quality. Results112 articles fulfilled eligibility criteria (53 systematic reviews; 59 meta-analyses). Overall, 68% AMSTAR and 56.8% PRISMA items were reported adequately. Poorest scores were identified with regards a priori design, inclusion of structured summaries, including the grey literature, citing excluded articles and evaluating bias. 13 reviews were pre-registered and 6 in PRISMA-endorsing journals. The following predicted quality in univariate analysis:, word count, Cochrane review, journal h-index, impact factor, journal endorses PRISMA, PRISMA adherence suggested in author guidance, article mentions PRISMA, review includes comparison of interventions and review registration. The latter three variables were significant in multivariate regression. Conclusions There are gaps in the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews in paediatric surgery. More endorsement by journals of the PRISMA guideline may improve review quality, and the dissemination of reliable evidence to paediatric clinicians.




Cullis, P. S., Gudlaugsdottir, K., & Andrews, J. (2017, April 1). A systematic review of the quality of conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in paediatric surgery. PLoS ONE. Public Library of Science. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175213

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