Numerous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been conducted to define the relative benefits of low-osmolality contrast media (LOM) and high-osmolality contrast media (HOM). Because of the clinical and economic significance of the conclusions drawn from these RCTs, the authors used a standardized instrument to evaluate the quality of study design and data analysis of 100 RCTs published between 1982 and 1987 that compared LOM and HOM. The mean quality score (± standard deviation) was 39 ± 12 (maximum possible score, 100). The largest number of patients studied in any RCT was 435; the smallest was five. A majority of the RCTs received high scores on three attributes of quality, intermediate scores on seven, and low scores on nine. These results underscore the difficulty of designing, performing, analyzing, and reporting high-quality RCTs. Nevertheless, limitations in study design and data analysis need to be considered when interpreting results of these RCTs. Future RCTs comparing LOM and HOM should be performed with greater attention to basic elements of good study design and data analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging