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Table 3 Proportion of discrepancies in the specified primary outcomes between registered trials and published articles on acupuncture and discrepancies favoring statistically significant results

From: Empirical evidence for outcome reporting bias in randomized clinical trials of acupuncture: comparison of registered records and subsequent publications

Discrepancy in published articles relative to registered trials Total Western countries Eastern countries
n= 71 (%) n= 50 (%) n= 21 (%)
Articles with different primary outcomes in the trial registration and the published article 32 a(45.1) 26 b(52.0) 6 c(28.6)
Registered primary outcome omitted in published articles 22 (31.0) 18 (36.0) 4 (19.0)
An absent primary outcome in the registry defined in the published article 9 (12.7) 7 (14.0) 2 (9.5)
A published primary outcome registered as a secondary outcome 1 (1.4) 1 (2.0) 0 (0.0)
A registered primary outcome defined as a secondary outcome in the published article 15 (21.1) 13 (26.0) 2 (9.5)
Different timing of assessment of the primary outcome 12 (16.9) 8 (16.0) 4 (19.0)
Discrepancies in primary outcome favoring statistically significant results d 32 26 6
Yes 15 (46.9) 13 (50.0) 2 (33.3)
No 6 (18.8) 4 (15.4) 2 (33.3)
Impossible to conclude 11 (34.3) 9 (34.6) 2 (33.3)
  1. aFourteen articles had two reasons for the difference in primary outcome; five articles had three reasons for the difference in primary outcome; one article had four reasons for the difference in primary outcome.
  2. bEleven articles had two reasons for the difference in primary outcome; five articles had three reasons for the difference in primary outcome.
  3. cThree article had two reasons for the difference in primary outcome; one article had four reasons for the difference in primary outcome. Compared with articles from western countries: P = 0.07.
  4. dA discrepancy in primary outcome was said to favor statistically significant results when a new, statistically significant primary outcome was introduced in the article or when a statistically nonsignificant primary outcome was defined as a nonprimary outcome in the published article.