The birth of evidence-based anatomy (EBA) has demanded the need for original anatomical studies with a high degree of reporting clarity, transparency, and comprehensiveness. Currently, the inconsistency in the quality and reporting of such studies has limited the possibility for accurate reliability and impact assessment. Therefore, the International Evidence-Based Anatomy Working Group (iEBA-WG), in collaboration with renowned anatomists from around the world, has developed the Anatomical Quality Assurance (AQUA) Checklist and the Anatomical Quality Assessment (AQUA) Tool.

The AQUA Checklist aims to improve the quality and reporting of anatomical studies. The iEBA-WG strongly believes that such a checklist is needed to help authors of anatomical studies to report their studies in a comprehensive and systematic way, without any ambiguity. From our experience, we have often found poor reporting in anatomical studies, thus decreasing the reliability of the study and increasing the risk of bias. Similarly, the AQUA Tool is designed to assess the quality of primary/original anatomical studies (cadaveric, imaging, intraoperative, etc.). We also strongly believe that such a tool is crucial and imperative to help authors of anatomical meta-analyses and systematic reviews to evaluate primary/original studies prior to inclusion and data extraction. It will also allow readers of the review paper to evaluate the reliability of the meta-epidemiological study.

The AQUA initiative began with the development of a steering committee that formulated an initial conceptual design and generated items for a preliminary checklist and tool on the basis of a literature review and expert opinion. A Delphi protocol was then conducted to assess the validity of the preliminary checklist and tool. Feedback from the Delphi panelists, which consisted of renowned anatomists, were used to improve them.

Please refer to the AQUA Checklist and Tool tabs for further information and resources.

We are pleased to inform that The Federative International Committee for Scientific Publications (FICSP) of the The International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA) announced endorsement and support for AQUA guidlines.