Guidelines for Reporting Case Studies on Extracorporeal Treatments in Poisonings: Methodology

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Abstract

A literature review performed by the EXtracorporeal TReatments In Poisoning (EXTRIP) workgroup highlighted deficiencies in the existing literature, especially the reporting of case studies. Although general reporting guidelines exist for case studies, there are none in the specific field of extracorporeal treatments in toxicology. Our goal was to construct and propose a checklist that systematically outlines the minimum essential items to be reported in a case study of poisoned patients undergoing extracorporeal treatments. Through a modified two-round Delphi technique, panelists (mostly chosen from the EXTRIP workgroup) were asked to vote on the pertinence of a set of items to identify those considered minimally essential for reporting complete and accurate case reports. Furthermore, independent raters validated the clarity of each selected items between each round of voting. All case reports containing data on extracorporeal treatments in poisoning published in Medline in 2011 were reviewed during the external validation rounds. Twenty-one panelists (20 from the EXTRIP workgroup and an invited expert on pharmacology reporting guidelines) participated in the modified Delphi technique. This group included journal editors and experts in nephrology, clinical toxicology, critical care medicine, emergency medicine, and clinical pharmacology. Three independent raters participated in the validation rounds. Panelists voted on a total of 144 items in the first round and 137 items in the second round, with response rates of 96.3% and 98.3%, respectively. Twenty case reports were evaluated at each validation round and the independent raters' response rate was 99.6% and 98.8% per validation round. The final checklist consists of 114 items considered essential for case study reporting. This methodology of alternate voting and external validation rounds was useful in developing the first reporting guideline for case studies in the field of extracorporeal treatments in poisoning. We believe that this guideline will improve the completeness and transparency of published case reports and that the systematic aggregation of information from case reports may provide early signals of effectiveness and/or harm, thereby improving healthcare decision-making.

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