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Reporting quality of randomised controlled trial abstracts presented at the SLEEP Annual Meetings: a cross-sectional study

17 Jul 2019


To evaluate the reporting quality of randomised controlled trial (RCT) abstracts presented at a leading international conference in sleep medicine (the SLEEP Annual Meeting), and to investigate the association between potential predictors and the reporting quality of trial abstracts in this field.


Cross-sectional, research on research study.


A handsearch of the 2016–2018 SLEEP Annual Meeting abstract books was carried out to identify abstracts describing RCTs. Quality of reporting was assessed with the original 17-item CONSORT for Abstracts checklist. Univariable and multivariable linear regression analyses were performed to identify significant predictors of reporting quality. In addition, risk ratios were used to analyse the adequate reporting rate of each quality item by type of intervention and funding status.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

The overall quality score (OQS, range 0–17) in accordance with the CONSORT for Abstracts checklist (primary outcome), and the adequate reporting rate of each checklist item (secondary outcome).


A total of 176 RCT abstracts were included and assessed. The mean OQS was 5.53 (95% CI 5.30 to 5.76). Only three quality items (objective, conclusions and funding) were adequately reported in most abstracts (>75%). None of the abstracts adequately reported authors, randomisation or outcome in the results section. According to the multivariable analysis, pharmacological interventions (p=0.018) and funding from the industry (p=0.025) were significantly associated with better reporting quality.


The reporting quality of RCT abstracts presented at SLEEP Annual Meetings was suboptimal. Pharmacological intervention and funding from industry were significant predictors of better reporting quality. Joint efforts by authors and conference committees are needed to enhance the reporting quality of RCT abstracts presented at sleep medicine conferences, and thereby reduce relevant research waste in this field.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open