Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Coll Surg. 2009 Nov;209(5):565-571.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2009.07.019. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

Quality of reporting in randomized trials published in high-quality surgical journals.

Author information

Department of General Surgery, North Middlesex University Hospital, London, UK.



Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in surgery can provide valuable evidence of the efficacy of interventions if they are well-designed, appropriately executed, and adequately reported. Adequate reporting of methodology in surgical RCTs is known to be poor, and adverse-event reporting in surgical research is inconsistent. The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement is a framework to help authors report their findings in a transparent manner. Extensions to the CONSORT statement have been published recently to address deficiencies in adverse-event reporting and in reporting of specific criteria related to nonpharmacologic treatments. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of reporting of trial methodology and adverse events in a sample of general surgical RCTs published in high-quality surgical journals using the criteria specified in the CONSORT statements.


We used impact factor to identify the top three ranked surgical journals in 2004. We then obtained information on all RCTs published in these journals in the 2005 calendar year. We assessed quality of reporting using Jadad score, compared the quality of RCTs from CONSORT-endorsing journals with nonendorsers, and assessed the number of RCTs adequately reporting key generic methodologic, adverse-event-related, and specific nonpharmacologic criteria.


Of 42 RCTs analyzed, only 40% (17 of 42) had a Jadad score > or = 3. There was no significant difference in the number of high-quality RCTs published in CONSORT-endorsing journals compared with nonendorsers (p = 0.3). The median percentage of RCTs adequately reporting generic methodologic, adverse-event-related, and specific nonpharmacologic criteria was 32.5%, 17%, and 36.5%, respectively.


Quality of reporting of generic methodologic, adverse-event-related, and specific nonpharmacologic criteria in surgical RCTs is poor. Increased attention to quality of reporting of surgical RCTs is required if studies are to meet published criteria.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center