The art of quality assessment of RCTs included in systematic reviews.

Authors: Verhagen A (1,2) , de Vet HC (2,3) , de Bie R (2) , Boers M (4) , van den Brandt PA (2)
(1) Department of General Practice, Erasmus Medical Centre University (2) Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University (3) Institute of Extramural Medicine, Vrije Universiteit (4) Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Vrij Universiteit, University Hospital
Source: J Clin Epidemiol. 2001 Jul;54(7):651-4.
DOI: 10.1016/S0895-4356(00)00360-7 Publication date: 2001 Jul E-Publication date: Not specified Availability: abstract Copyright: © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Language: English Countries: Not specified Location: Not specified Correspondence address: A.P. Verhagen :
Department of General Practice, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Tel.: +31 10 408 8109; fax: +31 10 408.9491.
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Article abstract

The best evidence on the efficacy of medical interventions is provided by high-quality trials summarized in high-quality systematic reviews or meta-analyses. The methodological quality of studies included in a systematic review can have a substantial impact on the estimates of the treatment effect and therefore on the conclusions of such a review. But what is the empirical evidence to support quality assessment of randomized clinical trials (RCTs)? We elaborate on questions such as: what is the concept of quality of individual studies (RCTs), can quality be measured validly and reliably? Plans for future research on this issue are proposed.

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