To evaluate the adherence of recently published diagnostic test accuracy (DTA) systematic reviews (SR) to PRISMA-DTA and PRISMA-DTA for abstracts to identify areas of deficiency in reporting.
We searched MEDLINE for DTA SR published between 31 October 2017 and 20 January 2018 to achieve a sample size target of 100 SRs. In our analysis we evaluated overall adherence to PRISMA-DTA, on a per item basis. We evaluated the association of completeness of reporting with: journal, country, impact factor (IF), index test type, subspecialty area, use of supplementary material, PRISMA citation and PRISMA adoption by journal. We also performed correlation of adherence with word count.
Adherence (n = 100 studies) was 73% (19.0/26 items, standard deviation (SD) 2.0) for PRISMA-DTA and 45% (4.5/10 items, SD 1.2) for PRISMA-DTA for abstracts. Items pertaining to the results section (study selection, synthesis of the results) were frequently reported (> 66% of studies), while infrequently reported items (< 33% of studies) included those related to protocol reporting and registration, and characteristics of the included studies (clinical and study settings, funding sources) (Table 1). Infrequently reported items from PRISMA-DTA for abstracts included funding information, strengths and limitations of the SR, characteristics of the included studies and assessment of applicability (Table 2). Adherence was higher in journals with a higher IF (19.5 versus 18.5 items; P = 0.014), studies that cited PRISMA (19.3 versus 18.2 items; P = 0.012) and studies that used supplementary material (19.6 versus 18.5 items; P = 0.006). No variability in reporting was identified for country (P = 0.076), journal (P = 0.596), PRISMA adoption by journal (P = 0.343), study design (P = 0.668), subspecialty area (P = 0.313) or index test (P = 0.812) (Table 3). Association of adherence with a higher word count was present for abstracts (R = 0.43; P < 0.001) but not for full texts (R = -0.03; P = 0.782).
Recently published DTA SRs show moderate adherence to PRISMA-DTA and low adherence to PRISMA-DTA for abstracts.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
This evaluation will guide knowledge translation strategies to improve DTA SR reporting completeness, allowing the many stakeholders who rely on DTA SR to better assess critical aspects of review methods to determine the applicability and validity of the review.