Statistical considerations in reporting cardiovascular research

Merry L. Lindsey, Gillian A. Gray, Susan K. Wood, Douglas Curran-Everett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The problem of inadequate statistical reporting is long standing and widespread in the biomedical literature, including in cardiovascular physiology. Although guidelines for reporting statistics have been available in clinical medicine for some time, there are currently no guidelines specific to cardiovascular physiology. To assess the need for guidelines, we determined the type and frequency of statistical tests and procedures currently used in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. A PubMed search for articles published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology between January 1, 2017, and October 6, 2017, provided a final sample of 146 articles evaluated for methods used and 38 articles for indepth analysis. The t-test and ANOVA accounted for 71% (212 of 300 articles) of the statistical tests performed. Of six categories of post hoc tests, Bonferroni and Tukey tests were used in 63% (62 of 98 articles). There was an overall lack in details provided by authors publishing in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, and we compiled a list of recommended minimum reporting guidelines to aid authors in preparing manuscripts. Following these guidelines could substantially improve the quality of statistical reports and enhance data rigor and reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H303-H313
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Big data
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Meta-research
  • Meta-science
  • Physiology
  • Rigor and reproducibility
  • Statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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