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      Methodological index for non-randomized studies (MINORS): development and validation of a new instrument

      , , , , ,
      ANZ Journal of Surgery
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Because of specific methodological difficulties in conducting randomized trials, surgical research remains dependent predominantly on observational or non-randomized studies. Few validated instruments are available to determine the methodological quality of such studies either from the reader's perspective or for the purpose of meta-analysis. The aim of the present study was to develop and validate such an instrument. After an initial conceptualization phase of a methodological index for non-randomized studies (MINORS), a list of 12 potential items was sent to 100 experts from different surgical specialties for evaluation and was also assessed by 10 clinical methodologists. Subsequent testing involved the assessment of inter-reviewer agreement, test-retest reliability at 2 months, internal consistency reliability and external validity. The final version of MINORS contained 12 items, the first eight being specifically for non-comparative studies. Reliability was established on the basis of good inter-reviewer agreement, high test-retest reliability by the kappa-coefficient and good internal consistency by a high Cronbach's alpha-coefficient. External validity was established in terms of the ability of MINORS to identify excellent trials. MINORS is a valid instrument designed to assess the methodological quality of non-randomized surgical studies, whether comparative or non-comparative. The next step will be to determine its external validity when used in a large number of studies and to compare it with other existing instruments.

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          The hazards of scoring the quality of clinical trials for meta-analysis.

          Although it is widely recommended that clinical trials undergo some type of quality review, the number and variety of quality assessment scales that exist make it unclear how to achieve the best assessment. To determine whether the type of quality assessment scale used affects the conclusions of meta-analytic studies. Meta-analysis of 17 trials comparing low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) with standard heparin for prevention of postoperative thrombosis using 25 different scales to identify high-quality trials. The association between treatment effect and summary scores and the association with 3 key domains (concealment of treatment allocation, blinding of outcome assessment, and handling of withdrawals) were examined in regression models. Pooled relative risks of deep vein thrombosis with LMWH vs standard heparin in high-quality vs low-quality trials as determined by 25 quality scales. Pooled relative risks from high-quality trials ranged from 0.63 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.44-0.90) to 0.90 (95% CI, 0.67-1.21) vs 0.52 (95% CI, 0.24-1.09) to 1.13 (95% CI, 0.70-1.82) for low-quality trials. For 6 scales, relative risks of high-quality trials were close to unity, indicating that LMWH was not significantly superior to standard heparin, whereas low-quality trials showed better protection with LMWH (P<.05). Seven scales showed the opposite: high quality trials showed an effect whereas low quality trials did not. For the remaining 12 scales, effect estimates were similar in the 2 quality strata. In regression analysis, summary quality scores were not significantly associated with treatment effects. There was no significant association of treatment effects with allocation concealment and handling of withdrawals. Open outcome assessment, however, influenced effect size with the effect of LMWH, on average, being exaggerated by 35% (95% CI, 1%-57%; P= .046). Our data indicate that the use of summary scores to identify trials of high quality is problematic. Relevant methodological aspects should be assessed individually and their influence on effect sizes explored.
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            • Record: found
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            Randomised trials in surgery: problems and possible solutions.

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              Validation of an index of the quality of review articles

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ANZ Journal of Surgery
                ANZ J Surg
                Wiley
                1445-1433
                1445-2197
                September 2003
                September 2003
                : 73
                : 9
                : 712-716
                Article
                10.1046/j.1445-2197.2003.02748.x
                12956787
                464235c4-30f2-4a83-b955-921ce9eee995
                © 2003

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

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