Background: Systematic reviews of diagnostic test accuracy provide estimates of test performance, allow comparisons of the accuracy of different tests and facilitate the identification of sources of variability. They should therefore be conducted according to scientifically rigorous methodology and should be clear and unbiased, which will facilitate their assessment and the translation of their findings into clinical practice. However, they are often not reported completely, although their number has increased rapidly.
Objectives: To analyse systematic reviews and meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy published in high impact factor journals with the Preferred Reporting Items for a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Diagnostic Test Accuracy Studies (PRISMA-DTA) statement in order to evaluate their reporting quality.
Methods: We selected the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, the BMJ and the Lancet as high impact factor journals and we searched PubMed for systematic reviews and meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy published from inception to February 2018. The search strategy is shown. Two authors screened potentially relevant articles independently, with disagreement resolved by discussion with a third author. We examined and summarised adherence to each item in the PRISMA-DTA statement using descriptive statistics. We assigned each criterion one of three grades: 'no description', 'inadequate' or 'adequate'. We resolved discrepancies between authors in the grading of individual criteria by joint discussion.
Results: We considered 102 reviews to be eligible for inclusion where the terms systematic review or meta-analysis of diagnostic test accuracy were in the title or abstract or if it was apparent in the text that a systematic review of diagnostic test accuracy had been undertaken. Narrative reviews, surveys, historical reviews and case reports with extensive literature reviews were excluded. We are assessing the quality of the reporting of the included reviews according to the PRISMA-DTA statement and the final results will be published later.
Conclusions: This study is ongoing and the final results will be published later.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: None.