Reporting of interventions used in cardiothoracic surgery trials: analysis using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist
The Cardiothoracic Surgeon volume 28, Article number: 6 (2020)
To the editor,
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard for evaluating intervention effectiveness  and advancing clinical practice in cardiothoracic surgery. Considering the importance of RCTs in cardiothoracic surgery, it is important that RCTs be reported in a thorough, clear, and complete manner. In this study, we evaluated the completeness of intervention reporting of cardiothoracic surgery RCTs using the Template for Intervention Reporting (TIDieR) checklist .
Our sample included trials published before the 2011–2013 and after 2016–2018 publication of the TIDieR checklist from the top 20 cardiothoracic surgery journals as ranked by Google Scholar h5-index. Title/abstract screening, evaluation of TIDieR adherence, and data extraction were performed by two investigators independently.
In 170 analyzed trials, the mean number of TIDieR items reported was 7.4 (SD = 1.2) out of 12. Five items were completely reported > 80% of the time and included (1) a brief description of the intervention, (2) the rationale for intervention, (3) a description of activities/processes used in the intervention, (4) a description of the mode of delivery and if it was provided individually or in a group, and (5) the number of times the intervention was delivered and over what period of time. Three items were reported in fewer than 20% of the trials including (1) whether modifications were made to the intervention, (2) fidelity assessment (planned), and (3) fidelity assessment (reality). Table 1 presents the results per TIDieR item for all analyzed trials. No included trials provided sufficient intervention description to fulfill all 12 TIDieR items.
Our findings suggest incomplete reporting of RCTs published in cardiothoracic surgery journals. Complete reporting is important to allow for replication of the intervention in future trials, for physicians to implement the intervention into their clinical practice, and for systematic reviewers to have sufficient intervention information to include them for evidence synthesis . The TIDieR checklist was developed to address incomplete reporting. Our results suggest, however, that the publication of TIDieR had no effect on completeness of intervention reporting among trials in our sample. More comprehensive dissemination strategies may be warranted to increase awareness of its existence. Alternatively, TIDieR could be incorporated into the well-established CONSORT guideline, the gold standard for reporting clinical trials. Given that CONSORT has a clear gap in intervention reporting guidance, the addition of TIDieR would contribute positively to the CONSORT items. Tiruvoipati et al.  reported that only 7.8% of cardiothoracic trials adequately reported a detailed description of trial setting and location and 26.6% of included trials provided details of the intervention. Findings from our study, coupled with previous investigations, support the need for improved reporting of cardiothoracic surgery trial interventions.
Availability of data and materials
The methods, results, and data sets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available on Open Science Framework, https://osf.io/hpx9g/
Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials
Randomized controlled trial
Template for Intervention Description and Replication
Schulz KF, Altman DG, Moher D (2010) CONSORT 2010 statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. BMJ 340:c332
Hoffmann TC, Glasziou PP, Boutron I et al (2014) Better reporting of interventions: template for intervention description and replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide. BMJ 348:g1687
Agha R, Cooper D, Muir G (2007) The reporting quality of randomised controlled trials in surgery: a systematic review. Int J Surg 5(6):413–422
Tiruvoipati R, Balasubramanian SP, Atturu G et al (2006) Improving the quality of reporting randomized controlled trials in cardiothoracic surgery: the way forward. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 132(2):233–240
This investigation was not funded.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Consent for publication
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Beavers, C., Sosio, J., Jellison, S. et al. Reporting of interventions used in cardiothoracic surgery trials: analysis using the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist. Cardiothorac Surg 28, 6 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43057-020-0018-4