Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews Published in the Urological Literature from 1998 to 2012

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Corbyons K., Han J., Neuberger M.M., Dahm P.

 

Journal of Urology 2015

Purpose: Systematic reviews synthesize the current best evidence to address a clinical question. Given the growing emphasis on evidence-based clinical practice, systematic reviews are being increasingly sought after and published. We previously reported limitations in the methodological quality of 57 individual systematic reviews published from 1998 to 2008. We provide an update to our previous study, adding systematic reviews published from 2009 to 2012. Materials and Methods: We systematically searched PubMed® and hand searched the table of contents of 4 major urological journals to identify systematic reviews related to questions of prevention and therapy. Two independent reviewers with prior formal evidence-based medicine training assessed the methodological quality using the validated 11-point AMSTAR (A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews) instrument. We performed predefined statistical hypothesis testing for differences by publication period (1998 to 2008 vs 2009 to 2012) and journal of publication. We performed statistical testing using SPSS®, version 23.0 with a 2-sided ? of 0.05 using the Student t-test, ANOVA and the chi-square test. Results: A total of 113 systematic reviews published from 2009 to 2012 met study inclusion criteria. The most common topics were oncology (44 reviews or 38.9%), voiding dysfunction (26 or 23.0%) and stones/endourology (13 or 11.5%). The largest contributor was European Urology (46 reviews or 40.7%), followed by BJU International (31 or 27.4%) and The Journal of Urology® (22 or 19.5%). Themean ± SD AMSTAR score for the 2009 to 2012 period was 5.3 ± 2.3 compared to 4.8 ± 2.0 for 1998 to 2008 with a mean difference of 0.5 (95% CI 0.2 to 1.2, p = 0.133). Conclusions: While the number of systematic reviews published in the urological literature has increased substantially, the methodological quality of these studies remains suboptimal. Systematic review authors and editors should make every effort to adhere to well established methodological standards to enhance the impact of their research efforts.

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