Statistical analyses and quality of individual participant data network meta-analyses were suboptimal: a cross-sectional study

Gao, Ya, Shi, Shuzhen, Li, Muyang, Luo, Xinyuan, Liu, Ming, Yang, Keqin, Zhang, Junhua, Song, Fujian and Tian, Jinhui (2020) Statistical analyses and quality of individual participant data network meta-analyses were suboptimal: a cross-sectional study. BMC Medicine, 18. ISSN 1741-7015

[thumbnail of Gao_et_al-2020-BMC_Medicine]
PDF (Gao_et_al-2020-BMC_Medicine) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Background: Network meta-analyses using individual participant data (IPD-NMAs) have been increasingly used to compare the effects of multiple interventions. Although there have been many studies on statistical methods for IPD-NMAs, it is unclear whether there are statistical defects in published IPD-NMAs and whether the reporting of statistical analyses has improved. This study aimed to investigate statistical methods used and assess the reporting and methodological quality of IPD-NMAs. Methods: We searched four bibliographic databases to identify published IPD-NMAs. The methodological quality was assessed using AMSTAR-2 and reporting quality assessed based on PRISMA-IPD and PRISMA-NMA. We performed stratified analyses and correlation analyses to explore the factors that might affect quality. Results: We identified 21 IPD-NMAs. Only 23.8% of the included IPD-NMAs reported statistical techniques used for missing participant data, 42.9% assessed the consistency, and none assessed the transitivity. None of the included IPD-NMAs reported sources of funding for trials included, only 9.5% stated pre-registration of protocols, and 28.6% assessed the risk of bias in individual studies. For reporting quality, compliance rates were lower than 50.0% for more than half of the items. Less than 15.0% of the IPD-NMAs reported data integrity, presented the network geometry, or clarified risk of bias across studies. IPD-NMAs with statistical or epidemiological authors often better assessed the inconsistency (P = 0.017). IPD-NMAs with a priori protocol were associated with higher reporting quality in terms of search (P = 0.046), data collection process (P = 0.031), and syntheses of results (P = 0.006). Conclusions: The reporting of statistical methods and compliance rates of methodological and reporting items of IPD-NMAs were suboptimal. Authors of future IPD-NMAs should address the identified flaws and strictly adhere to methodological and reporting guidelines.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: individual participant data,methodological quality,network meta-analysis,reporting quality,statistical analysis,medicine(all) ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2020 00:06
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2023 16:33
DOI: 10.1186/s12916-020-01591-0

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item