Levels of evidence determination for included papers
The level of evidence for individual research papers will be assigned using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine 2011 Level of Evidence Criteria.1
Level I: High quality randomized trial or prospective study; testing of previously developed diagnostic criteria on consecutive patients; sensible costs and alternatives; values obtained from many studies with multiway sensitivity analyses; systematic review of Level I RCTs and Level I studies.
Level II: Lesser quality RCT; prospective comparative study; retrospective study; untreated controls from an RCT; lesser quality prospective study; development of diagnostic criteria on consecutive patients; sensible costs and alternatives; values obtained from limited studies; with multiway sensitivity analyses; systematic review of Level II studies or Level I studies with inconsistent results.
Level III: Case-control study (therapeutic and prognostic studies); retrospective comparative study; study of nonconsecutive patients without consistently applied reference “gold” standard; analyses based on limited alternatives and costs and poor estimates; systematic review of Level III studies.
Level IV: Case series; case control study (diagnostic studies); poor reference standard; analyses with no sensitivity analyses.
(1) Modified from OCEBM Levels of Evidence Working Group*. “The Oxford Levels of Evidence 2”. Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. https://www.cebm.net/index.aspx?o=5653 * OCEBM Levels of Evidence Working Group = Jeremy Howick, Iain Chalmers (James Lind Library), Paul Glasziou, Trish Greenhalgh, Carl Heneghan, Alessandro Liberati, Ivan Moschetti, Bob Phillips, Hazel Thornton, Olive Goddard and Mary Hodgkinson