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Neurosurgery. 2018 May 1;82(5):604-612. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx319.

Neurosurgical Randomized Controlled Trials-Distance Travelled.

Author information

1
Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.
2
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, and Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, and MetaResearch Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS), Stanford, California.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The evidence base for many neurosurgical procedures has been limited. We performed a comprehensive and systematic analysis of study design, quality of reporting, and trial results of neurosurgical randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

OBJECTIVE:

To systematically assess the design and quality characteristics of neurosurgical RCTs.

METHODS:

From January 1961 to June 2016, RCTs with >5 patients assessing any 1 neurosurgical procedure against another procedure, nonsurgical treatment, or no treatment were retrieved from MEDLINE, Scopus, and Cochrane Library.

RESULTS:

The median sample size in the 401 eligible RCTs was 73 patients with a mean patient age of 49.6. Only 111 trials (27.1%) described allocation concealment, 140 (34.6%) provided power calculations, and 117 (28.9%) were adequately powered. Significant efficacy or trend for efficacy was claimed in 226 reports (56.4%), no difference between the procedures was found in 166 trials (41.4%), and significant harm was reported in 9 trials (2.2%). Trials with a larger sample size were more likely to report randomization mode, specify allocation concealment, and power calculations (all P < .001). Government funding was associated with better specification of power calculations (P = .008) and of allocation concealment (P = .026), while industry funding was associated with reporting significant efficacy (P = .02). Reporting of funding, specification of randomization mode and primary outcomes, and mention of power calculations improved significantly (all, P < .05) over time.

CONCLUSION:

Several aspects of the design and reporting of RCTs on neurosurgical procedures have improved over time. Better powered and accurately reported trials are needed in neurosurgery to deliver evidence-based care and achieve optimal outcomes.

PMID:
28645203
DOI:
10.1093/neuros/nyx319
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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