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Juvenile idiopathic arthritis of peripheral joints: quality of reporting of diagnostic accuracy of conventional MRI.

RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to systematically review the quality of papers on the clinimetric properties of magnetic resonance imaging for the diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis in peripheral joints.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A review of Medline, EMBASE, the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and the Cochrane Library was performed by using a systematic search strategy. Two independent reviewers evaluated selected articles by using Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy (STARD) and Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS) tools. Items were reported independently for STARD and QUADAS.

RESULTS: Eighteen studies (validity, n = 18; reliability, n = 3; responsiveness, n = 3) were included. Their overall quality of reporting of methods was fair. Methodological problems with the STARD system included a lack of reporting of exclusion criteria (n = 14), partial or no information on operators' expertise (n = 14) or blinding (n = 18), and deficient information on study time frames (n = 12), treatments (n = 10), or indeterminate results (n = 18). The distribution of QUADAS scores was heterogeneous, with overall scores ranging between 3.5 (poor) and 16.5 (excellent) (maximum score, 17.5).

CONCLUSIONS: The quality of reporting of methods in studies on the magnetic resonance imaging assessment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis is heterogeneous and fair overall. Further methodological refinement of research design should be sought in future studies to provide stronger evidence for the value of novel techniques in clinical settings.

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