How completely are physiotherapy interventions described in reports of randomised trials?

Tiê P. Yamato*, Chris G. Maher, Bruno T. Saragiotto, Tammy C. Hoffmann, Anne M. Moseley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Incomplete descriptions of interventions are a common problem in reports of randomised controlled trials. To date no study has evaluated the completeness of the descriptions of physiotherapy interventions. Objectives: To evaluate the completeness of the descriptions of physiotherapy interventions in a random sample of reports of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Data sources: A random sample of 200 reports of RCTs from the PEDro database. Study selection or eligibility criteria: We included full text papers, written in English, and reporting trials with two arms. We included trials evaluating any type of physiotherapy interventions and subdisciplines. Data extraction and data synthesis: The methodological quality was evaluated using the PEDro scale and completeness of intervention description using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist. The proportion and 95% confidence interval were calculated for intervention and control groups, and used to present the relationship between completeness and methodological quality, and subdisciplines. Results: Completeness of intervention reporting in physiotherapy RCTs was poor. For intervention groups, 46 (23%) trials did not describe at least half of the items. Reporting was worse for control groups, 149 (75%) trials described less than half of the items. There was no clear difference in the completeness across subdisciplines or methodological quality. Limitations: Our sample were restricted to trials published in English in 2013. Conclusion and implications of key findings: Descriptions of interventions in physiotherapy RCTs are typically incomplete. Authors and journals should aim for more complete descriptions of interventions in physiotherapy trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


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