Quality of reporting of dental survival analyses

D M Layton, M Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


To explore the quality of reporting (writing and graphics) of articles that used time-to-event analyses to report dental treatment outcomes. A systematic search of the top 50 dental journals in 2008 produced the sample of articles for this analysis. Articles reporting treatment outcomes with (n = 95) and without (n = 91) time-to-event statistics were reviewed. Survival descriptive words used in the two groups were analysed (Pearson's chi-square). The quality of life tables, survival curves and time-to-event statistics were assessed (Kappa analysed agreement) and explored. Words describing dental outcomes 'over time' were more common in time-to-event compared with control articles (77%, 3%, P < 0.001). Non-specific use of 'rate' was common across both groups. Life tables and survival curves were used by 39% and 48% of the time-to-event articles, with at least one used by 82%. Construction quality was poor: 21% of life tables and 28% of survival curves achieved an acceptable standard. Time-to-event statistical reporting was poor: 3% achieved a high and 59% achieved an acceptable standard. The survival statistic, summary figure and standard error were reported in 76%, 95% and 20% of time-to-event articles. Individual statistical terms and graphic aids were common within and unique to time-to-event articles. Unfortunately, important details were regularly omitted from statistical descriptions and survival figures making the overall quality poor. It is likely this will mean such articles will be incorrectly indexed in databases, missed by searchers and unable to be understood completely if identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-40
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
Issue number12
Early online date05 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Dental Research
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Life Tables
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design
  • Statistics as Topic


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