Negative pressure wound therapy: potential publication bias caused by lack of access to unpublished study results data

BMC Medical Research Methodology
Frank PeinemannStefan Lange

Abstract

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is widely applied, although the evidence base is weak. Previous reviews on medical interventions have shown that conclusions based on published data alone may no longer hold after consideration of unpublished data. The main objective of this study was to identify unpublished randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on NPWT within the framework of a systematic review. RCTs comparing NPWT with conventional wound therapy were identified using MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and The Cochrane Library. Every database was searched from inception to May 2005. The search was updated in December 2006. Reference lists of original articles and systematic reviews, as well as congress proceedings and online trial registers, were screened for clues to unpublished RCTs. Manufacturers of NPWT devices and authors of conference abstracts were contacted and asked to provide study information. Trials were considered nonrandomised if concealment of allocation to treatment groups was classified as "inadequate". The study status was classified as "completed", "discontinued", "ongoing" or "unclear". The publication status of completed or discontinued RCTs was classified as "published" if a full-text paper on final study result...Continue Reading

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