Objectives and hypotheses
Are the objectives of the study clearly stated?
Yes. To examine the effect of aspiration in radial head fractures.
Patients had aspiration performed the day after presentation in the fracture clinic.
Is the study design suitable for the objectives
Yes. But not in the way the authors have performed it.
Who / what was studied?
98 patients had radial head fractures. 14 were excluded because of insufficient records.
Of the remaining 80 only 38 had aspirations. It is not clear how this group were selected.
Was this the right sample to answer the objectives?
No They should have set clear inclusion criteria and ransomised on that.
Is the study large enough to achieve its objectives? Have sample size estimates been performed?
No. No calculation performed but clearly too small.
Were all subjects accounted for?
Were all appropriate outcomes considered?
Too some extent. Pain and function at discharge were the main outcomes
Has ethical approval been obtained if appropriate?
Were the patients randomised between treatments?
Yes on their hospital number (whatever that means)
How was randomisation carried out?
Are the outcomes clinically relevant?
Measurement and observation
Is it clear what was measured, how it was measured and what the outcomes were?
No. I found it difficult to determine how the authors reached their conclusions and why they introduced a rather irrelevant control group in the results section without prior mention. The graphs presented are difficult to interpret and unclear.
Are the measurements valid?
Range of movement - probably
Delay in mobilisation - unsure
Pain relief - No, as non standard scales used.
Are the measurements reliable?
No - see 3.2
Are the measurements reproducible?
Were the patients and the investigators blinded?
Presentation of results
Are the basic data adequately described?
No. this is very unclear
Were groups comparable at baseline?
Are the results presented clearly, objectively and in sufficient detail to enable readers to make their own judgement?
Are the results internally consistent, i.e. do the numbers add up properly?
Were side effects reported?
Are the data suitable for analysis?
Probably, though they have not done it
Are the methods appropriate to the data?
Are any statistics correctly performed and interpreted?
Are the results discussed in relation to existing knowledge on the subject and study objectives?
Is the discussion biased?
Yes. It is not evidently based upon their findings. Since they found no difference in late outcome their conclusions are a little too strongly held (that aspiration is advocated)
Are the authors' conclusions justified by the data?
What level of evidence has this paper presented? (using CEBM levels)
Is there a 7?
Does this paper help me answer my problem?
A little, but not enough on its own
Can any necessary change be implemented in practice?
Yes, minimal additional training
What aids to implementation exist?
What barriers to implementation exist?