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Over 30% of Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses Focused on Rotator Cuff Tear Treatments Contained Spin in the Abstract

      Purpose

      The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of spin in the abstracts of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on treatments for rotator cuff tears and whether various study and publishing journal characteristics were associated with the presence of spin.

      Methods

      A search strategy was developed for Ovid MEDLINE and Ovid Embase to retrieve systematic reviews focused on treatments for rotator cuff tears. For an article to be included, it must meet the following criteria: (1) the article must be a systematic review with or without a meta-analysis, (2) the article must pertain to the treatment of rotator cuff tears, (3) the article must only contain human subjects, and (4) the article must be accessible in English. Systematic reviews were analyzed for spin using a previously developed classification scheme in a masked, duplicate manner. Binary logistic regression was used to examine independent associations via unadjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals between the presence of spin and study characteristics.

      Results

      Search queries returned 932 articles, of which 121 systematic reviews and meta-analyses were eligible. A total of 36.4% (44/121) of systematic reviews contained spin. Among the general characteristics evaluated, there were no correlations with spin.

      Conclusions

      Spin was present in more than one-third of systematic reviews and meta-analyses covering rotator cuff tear treatments. Spin was not associated with any general study or journal characteristics, which indicates that clinicians must be aware of the potential presence of spin in all such abstracts.

      Clinical Relevance

      Clinicians rely on systematic reviews and meta-analyses, especially abstracts of these articles, to provide succinct guidance on best practices in patient care. The presence of spin could adversely affect patient care; thus, steps should be taken to improve the reporting quality of abstracts on rotator cuff tear treatment.
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