Background: The number of acupuncture systematic reviews and meta-analyses (SR/MAs) is increasing rapidly, whereas the reporting quality of SR/MAs is poor. We need reporting criteria to improve this situation.
Objectives: To develop an extension of the PRISMA statement for acupuncture to improve the reporting quality of acupuncture SR/MAs.
Methods: We used the PRISMA statement as a starting point and conducted this study referring to a development strategy recommended by the EQUATOR network. We applied a four-step method: 1) assess acupuncture SR/MAs and relevant reporting guidelines; 2) investigate the information need from the perspectives of clinicians, researchers, masters and doctors; 3) employ a three-round Delphi process to select items; and 4) conduct a face-to-face meeting. After the consensus process, the PRISMA-A was reviewed by our advisory experts from Canada, Hong Kong (China), Korea and Japan, respectively.
Results: Finally, we created a checklist of 13 extension items with corresponding explanation and elaboration (E&E) documents. The extension items were: one for title, one for rationale, five for eligibility criteria, one for literature search, three for data extraction and two for study characteristics. In addition, for two items about data sources and the follow-up time and time of outcome determination in study characteristics, we made further elaborations rather than extended items to improve their relevance to acupuncture as an intervention.
Conclusions: The PRISMA–A checklist identifies a set of items to be reported when reviewing acupuncture treatments. This extension has been developed to improve the reporting of SR/MAs of acupuncture interventions.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: No.