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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 May;98(21):e15785. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000015785.

Characteristics, trend, and methodological quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in nuclear medicine: A bibliometric analysis of studies published between 2005 and 2016.

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Department of Radiology.
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Inha University Hospital, Inha University School of Medicine, Jung-gu, Incheon, Korea.


To evaluate the characteristics, trend, and quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in nuclear medicine.We performed a PubMed search to identify systematic reviews and meta-analyses published between 2005 and 2016 in the field of nuclear medicine. The following data were extracted: journal name, impact factor, type of study, topics with cancer type, imaging modalities, authors (number, country, affiliation, presence of nuclear medicine specialists and statisticians, discordance between the first and corresponding authors), funding, methodological quality, methods used for quality assessment, and statistical methods.We included 185 nuclear medicine articles. Meta-analyses (n = 164; 88.6%) were published about 7 times more frequently than systematic reviews. Oncology was the most commonly studied topic (n = 125, 67.6%). The first authors were most frequently located in China (n = 73; 39.5%). PET was the most commonly used modality (n = 150; 81.1%). Both the number of authors and the ratio of discordance between the first and corresponding authors tended to progressively increase over time.The mean AMSTAR score increased over time (5.77 in 2005-2008, 6.71 in 2009-2012, and 7.44 in 2013-2016). The proportion of articles with quality assessment increased significantly (20/26 in 2005-2008, 54/65 in 2009-2012, and 79/94 in 2013-2016). The most commonly used assessment tool was quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies (n = 85; 54.9%).The number and quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in nuclear medicine have significantly increased over the review period; however, the quality of these articles varies. Efforts to overcome specific weaknesses of the methodologies can provide opportunities for quality improvement.

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