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Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation


Purpose: Outcomes of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been shown to influence clinical decision making. Thus, the quality and reliability of these outcomes are essential for both patients and medical care providers. To date, no study has assessed the quality of intervention reporting of RCTs in orthopaedics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality of intervention reporting of published RCTs in the field of orthopaedics using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist.

Methods: In this cross-sectional analysis, we applied the TIDieR checklist to assess the quality of intervention reporting in orthopaedic RCTs. Additionally, we evaluated the TIDieR checklist's influence on intervention reporting by comparing overall adherence to checklist items in trials published before the TIDieR checklist's release versus trials published after its release. Finally, we assessed whether certain factors were associated with the quality of intervention reporting.

Results: From a random sample of 300 publications in orthopaedic journals, 175 parallel-arm and cluster RCTs were identified. The overall rate of adherence to TIDieR items was 58.4%. Only 31.4% of orthopaedic RCTs adhered to at least 6 of the 12 TIDieR checklist items, whereas 0% adhered to all 12 items. We found no significant improvement in the quality of intervention reporting in studies published after the TIDieR checklist's release compared with studies published before its release (P = .97). Additionally, preregistered trials were associated with more complete intervention reporting.

Conclusions: Our results suggest suboptimal reporting of orthopaedic RCT interventions. In addition, the TIDieR checklist's intended effect-to better the quality of RCT intervention reporting-appears to have fallen short of its goal.

Clinical relevance: Because outcomes of RCTs are used to guide clinical decision making, it is essential that orthopaedic surgeons and clinical practice guideline panels are equipped with high-quality published research. Increasing the accuracy of intervention reporting may lead to more accurate clinical application. Thus, adoption of more stringent reporting of trial interventions by researchers, authors, and journal editors may improve the quality of orthopaedic research, as well as improve patient outcomes.



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