Level of clinical evidence presented at the open and closed American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons annual meeting over 10 years (2005-2014)
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
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© 2016 The Author(s). Background: The American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) annual scientific meetings are premier forums whereby orthopaedic surgeons are informed of the latest research advances in shoulder and elbow surgery. The purpose of the present study was to assess the Level of evidence (LOE) in the clinical papers presented at both the open and closed ASES annual scientific meetings from 2005 to 2014. Secondarily, the study evaluated whether there were any changes in the distribution of LOE over this period of time. Methods: Two reviewers independently evaluated the abstracts of 532 paper presentations at either the open or closed ASES annual meetings. The independent reviewers first screened the abstracts for clinical evidence and excluded cadaveric, biomechanical, technique, and review studies. The included abstracts were then independently graded for methodological quality using LOE from Level I (highest quality) to IV (lowest quality) based on the classification system created by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Results: Overall, 421 presentations were included and graded for LOE. In general, 17% of the presentations were graded level I; 15% level II; 25% level III; and 43% assigned a LOE of IV. Chi-square analysis demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in the LOE of presentations at the open and closed ASES meetings combined (p = 0.028) between the years 2005 and 2014. In particular, the proportion of presentations graded as level IV significantly decreased over this period (p = <0.001). Conclusions: While most presentations at the ASES annual scientific meetings were of lower LOEs the percentage of level I evidence is greater than that reported at other Orthopaedic meetings. There has been a significant improvement in the LOE of clinical research at open and closed ASES meetings from 2005 to 2014. Specifically, the proportion of level IV studies have dramatically decreased over time.