Douglas G. Altman, DSc; Kenneth F. Schulz, PhD; David Moher, MSc; Matthias Egger, MD; Frank Davidoff, MD; Diana Elbourne, PhD; Peter C. Gøtzsche, MD; Thomas Lang, MA; for the CONSORT Group
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Leah Lepage for coordinating the activities of the CONSORT group and Margaret J. Sampson, Louise Roy, and Kaitryn Campbell for creating a database of references.
Grant Support: Financial support to convene meetings of the CONSORT group was provided in part by Abbott Laboratories, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, GlaxoWellcome, The Lancet, Merck, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, National Library of Medicine, and TAP Pharmaceuticals.
Requests for Single Reprints: Leah Lepage, PhD, Thomas C. Chalmers Centre for Systematic Reviews, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Room R235, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L1, Canada; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Professor Altman: ICRF Medical Statistics Group, Centre for Statistics in Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LF, United Kingdom.
Dr. Schulz: Quantitative Sciences, Family Health International, PO Box 13950, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.
Mr. Moher: Thomas C. Chalmers Center for Systematic Reviews, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Room R2226, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L1, Canada.
Dr. Egger: MRC Health Services Research Collaboration, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, Whiteladies Road, Bristol B58 2PR, United Kingdom.
Dr. Davidoff: Annals of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
Professor Elbourne: Medical Statistics Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.
Dr. Gøtzsche: Nordic Cochrane Centre, Rigshospitalet, Dept 7112, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark.
Mr. Lang: 13849 Edgewater Drive, Lakewood, OH 44107.
Overwhelming evidence now indicates that the quality of reporting of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) is less than optimal. Recent methodologic analyses indicate that inadequate reporting and design are associated with biased estimates of treatment effects. Such systematic error is seriously damaging to RCTs, which boast the elimination of systematic error as their primary hallmark. Systematic error in RCTs reflects poor science, and poor science threatens proper ethical standards.
A group of scientists and editors developed the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement to improve the quality of reporting of RCTs. The statement consists of a checklist and flow diagram that authors can use for reporting an RCT. Many leading medical journals and major international editorial groups have adopted the CONSORT statement. The CONSORT statement facilitates critical appraisal and interpretation of RCTs by providing guidance to authors about how to improve the reporting of their trials.
This explanatory and elaboration document is intended to enhance the use, understanding, and dissemination of the CONSORT statement. The meaning and rationale for each checklist item are presented. For most items, at least one published example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies are provided. Several examples of flow diagrams are included.
The CONSORT statement, this explanatory and elaboration document, and the associated Web site (www.consort-statement.org) should be helpful resources to improve reporting of randomized trials.
Throughout the text, terms marked with an asterisk are defined at end of text.
Altman DG, Schulz KF, Moher D, et al, for the CONSORT Group. The Revised CONSORT Statement for Reporting Randomized Trials: Explanation and Elaboration. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:663–694. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-8-200104170-00012
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(8):663-694.
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