Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Inconsistent outcome reporting in large neonatal trials: a systematic review


Objective Inconsistent outcome selection and reporting in clinical trials are important sources of research waste; it is not known how common this problem is in neonatal trials. Our objective was to determine whether large clinical trials involving infants receiving neonatal care report a consistent set of outcomes, how composite outcomes are used and whether parents or former patients were involved in outcome selection.

Design A literature search of CENTRAL, CINAHL, EMBASE and MEDLINE was conducted; randomised trials published between 1 July 2012 and 1 July 2017 and involving at least 100 infants in each arm were included. Outcomes and outcome measures were extracted and categorised by physiological system; reported former patient and parent involvement in outcome selection was extracted.

Results Seventy-six trials involving 43 126 infants were identified; 216 different outcomes with 889 different outcome measures were reported. Outcome reporting covered all physiological systems but was variable between individual trials: only 67/76 (88%) of trials reported survival and 639 outcome measures were only reported in a single trial. Thirty-three composite outcomes were used in 41 trials. No trials reported former patient or parent involvement in outcome selection.

Conclusions Inconsistent outcome reporting and a lack of parent and former patient involvement in outcome selection in neonatal clinical trials limits the ability of such trials to answer clinically meaningful questions. Developing and implementing a core outcome set for future neonatal trials, with input from all stakeholders, should address these issues.

  • neonatology
  • outcomes research
  • patient perspective
View Full Text

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.