Quality of evidence on pre-eclampsia in the last three decades: An analysis of published literature

Hannah T.Y. Wang, Alston G.J. Ong, James M. Kemper, Ben W. Mol, Daniel L. Rolnik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of information published on pre-eclampsia. We analyzed trends in pre-eclampsia literature between 1997 and 2016 and reported on the quality and utility of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) between 1987 and 2016. Methods: We searched PubMed for all articles containing “pre-eclampsia” or “hypertensive disorders of pregnancy” in the title between 1997 and 2016 for the general literature and between 1987 and 2016 for RCTs. An analysis was performed based on study type, languages and publications from high-impact journals. Specific to RCTs, a quality and utility analysis based on the CONSORT guidelines and a usefulness checklist was adapted. An analysis by continents and proportion of RCTs published was also performed. Bibliometric network maps were created to determine trends in pre-eclampsia literature. Results: In total, 9654 articles were identified, with a doubling in the number of annual average publications from 310 to 655 between 1997 and 2016. This increase occurred in both English and non-English publications. There was a decline in the proportion of publications from selected high-impact journals from 22% in 1997–2001 to 8% in 2012–2016. Out of the available 130 RCTs that we analyzed, the number of RCTs published in 5-yearly periods remained relatively stable between 1987 and 2016, with quality and utility scores increasing from 24.6 and 11.6 to 31.9 and 13.3, respectively. A geographical search by continents showed that North America produced the majority of RCTs, followed by Asia and Europe. For completed pre-eclampsia trials that were registered between 2005 and 2014, only 68% resulted in peer-reviewed publications. Conclusion: The yearly number of publications on pre-eclampsia has substantially increased, with a stable number of high-level study types and publications from high-impact journals. The reporting quality and usefulness of RCTs relating to pre-eclampsia have improved over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalPregnancy Hypertension
Early online date20 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Medical research
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Quality
  • Randomized trials


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