Methodological quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on interventional in leading Chinese evidence-based medical journals

Li YP1, An N2, Xu JF2, Ge L2, Liang L2, Shi XT2, Tian JH3
1The Second Clinical College of Lanzhou University, China, 2The First Clinical College of Lanzhou University, China, 3Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, China

Background: More and more Systematic Reviews (SRs) and Meta-analyses (MAs) with different angles and opinions were emerging published in Chinese leading evidence-based medical journals. However, the current situation on methodological quality of SRs/MAs published is not clearly yet.

Objective: To critically assess the methodological quality of SRs/MAs on interventional published in Chinese leading evidence-based medicine journals.

Methods: To Chinese Journal of Evidence-based Medicine, The Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, Chinese Journal of Evidence Based Pediatrics and Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Cardiovascular Medicine web-based database for data sources, to select SRs or MAs of interventional strictly up to December 2011 based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data were extracted by two reviewers independently. The methodological quality of the trials was assessed by the AMSTAR tool. We discussed the factors may affect methodological quality on five aspects: publication year, number of author(s), financial support, author affiliation. All analyses were undertaken in Meta-analyst 3.13 and Microsoft Excel 2003.

Results: A total of 487 studies were included. The Table 1 showed that AMSTAR checklist score range from 1.5 to 9.5, the average score was 5.94 ± 1.05. AMSTAR publishment greatly increased the total score statistically. There were no significant differences among the other groups (Fig. 1).

Conclusion: The results from multivariate analysis showed that the methodological quality of SRs/MAs of interventional published in Chinese leading evidence-based medicine journals had problems in different levels, which required to be further improved. The lack of the details of retrieval strategies and single type of document retrieval should be noticed. There remained a pretty low rate of usage on grey literature and a poor report on publication bias. We sincerely hope that analysts will take this as a warning and produce high-quality SRs/MAs in future.