Effects of a proposal to alter the statistical significance threshold on previously published orthopaedic trauma randomized controlled trials.


Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : A recent proposal suggests changing the threshold for statistical significance from a P value of .05 to .005 to minimize bias and increase reproducibility of future studies. P values less than .05 but greater than .005 would be reclassified as "suggestive", whereas P values less than .005 would be considered significant. The present study explores how lowering the P value threshold would affect the interpretation of previously published orthopaedic trauma randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and whether outcomes from these trials would maintain statistical significance under the proposed P value threshold.
METHODS : All RCTs published between January 01, 2016 and January 31, 2018 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma, Injury, and Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery were screened by at least 2 authors. Data from included trials were extracted in blinded and duplicate fashion. All P values for primary endpoints were included from each study.
RESULTS : We identified 124 primary endpoints from 48 trials: 39.5% (49/124) of endpoints had a P value less than .05 and 60.5% (75/124) had a P value greater than .05. Overall, 51.0% (25/49) of statistically significant primary endpoints were less than .005, while 49.0% (24/49) would be reclassified as suggestive.
CONCLUSIONS : Based on our results, adopting a lower threshold of significance would heavily alter the significance of orthopaedic trauma RCTs and should be further evaluated and cautiously considered when viewing the effect such a proposal on orthopaedic practice.


Analysis,Clinical trials,Evidence,Orthopaedic,Orthopaedic trials,P-value,Randomized controlled trials,Statistical significance,Statistics,Trauma,Traumatology,

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