Reporting of patient-reported outcomes in randomized trials: the CONSORT PRO extension.
Calvert M., Blazeby J., Altman DG., Revicki DA., Moher D., Brundage MD.
The CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) Statement aims to improve the reporting of randomized controlled trials (RCTs); however, it lacks guidance on the reporting of patient-reported outcomes (PROs), which are often inadequately reported in trials, thus limiting the value of these data. In this article, we describe the development of the CONSORT PRO extension based on the methodological framework for guideline development proposed by the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) Network. Five CONSORT PRO checklist items are recommended for RCTs in which PROs are primary or important secondary end points. These recommendations urge that the PROs be identified as a primary or secondary outcome in the abstract, that a description of the hypothesis of the PROs and relevant domains be provided (ie, if a multidimensional PRO tool has been used), that evidence of the PRO instrument's validity and reliability be provided or cited, that the statistical approaches for dealing with missing data be explicitly stated, and that PRO-specific limitations of study findings and generalizability of results to other populations and clinical practice be discussed. Examples and an updated CONSORT flow diagram with PRO items are provided. It is recommended that the CONSORT PRO guidance supplement the standard CONSORT guidelines for reporting RCTs with PROs as primary or secondary outcomes. Improved reporting of PRO data should facilitate robust interpretation of the results from RCTs and inform patient care.