Identification of RCTs

Identification of randomised controlled trials in the emergency medicine and intensive care literature

What was this review about? 

The aim of this review was to improve the identification of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in the intensive care and emergency medicine literature by hand-searching for RCTs in 15 critical care journals. 

What did the review find?

Hand-searching identified a total of 2099 RCTs in the fifteen journals searched.

In seven journals indexed in Medline, a total of 1300 RCTs were identified of which 846 (65%) were identified by hand-searching and 1107 (85%) by electronic searches.

The RCTs identified were incorporated into the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register:

The authors recommended that the dual approach promoted by the Cochrane Collaboration, including both hand-searching and electronic searching, may be the optimal approach to identifying RCTs.


  • Authors: Langham J, Thompson E, Rowan K Title: Randomised controlled trials from the critical care literature: identification and assessment of quality Publication: Clinical Intensive Care Journal website
  • Authors: Langham J, Thompson E, Rowan K Title: Identification of randomized controlled trials from the emergency medicine literature: comparison of hand searching versus MEDLINE searching Publication: Annals of Emergency Medicine Journal website PubMed citation

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