Systematic reviews as a tool for planning and interpreting trials

Bath, Philip M.W. and Gray, Laura J. (2009) Systematic reviews as a tool for planning and interpreting trials. International Journal of Stroke, 4 (1). pp. 23-27. ISSN 1747-4949

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Background Systematic reviews followed by ameta-analysis

are carried out in medical research to combine the results of two or more related studies. Stroke trials have struggled to show beneficial effects and meta-analysis should be used more widely throughout the research process to either speed up the development of useful interventions, or halt more quickly research with hazardous or ineffective interventions.

Summary of review. This review summarises the clinical research process and illustrates how and when systematic

reviews may be used throughout the development programme.

Meta-analyses should be performed after observational

studies, preclinical studies in experimental stroke, and

after phase I, II, and III clinical trials and phase IV clinical surveillance studies. Although meta-analyses most commonly work with summary data, they may be performed to assess relationships between variables (meta-regression) and, ideally, should utilise individual patient data. Meta-analysis techniques may alsoworkwith ordered categorical outcome data (ordinal meta-analysis) and be used to perform indirect comparisons where original trial data do not exist.

Conclusion Systematic review/meta-analyses are powerful

tools in medical research and should be used throughout

the development of all stroke and other interventions

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The definitive version is available at:
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Clinical Neuroscience
Depositing User: Sayers, Hazel
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2009 09:19
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:26

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