Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Stroke. 2004 Feb;35(2):e43-5. Epub 2004 Jan 8.

Risk adjustment effect on stroke clinical trials.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA. kj4v@virginia.edu



The ischemic stroke population is heterogeneous. Even in balanced randomized trials, patient heterogeneity biases estimates of the treatment effect toward no effect when dichotomous end points are used. Risk adjustment statistically addresses some of the heterogeneity and can reduce bias in the treatment effect estimate. The purpose of this study was to estimate the treatment effect of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) tPA data set with and without adjustment for baseline differences.


Using a prespecified predictive model, we calculated unadjusted and risk-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for favorable outcome for the Barthel Index, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and Glasgow Outcome Scale for the patients in the NINDS tPA stroke trial. To assess the importance of the difference, a new sample size was calculated through the use of the risk-adjusted analysis.


We analyzed 615 subjects. The ORs for the Barthel Index were 1.76 (unadjusted) and 2.04 (adjusted). The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale and Glasgow Outcome Scale analyses also demonstrated increased ORs after adjustment. The estimated sample size required for the adjusted comparison was 13% smaller than the unadjusted sample.


Risk adjustment in this data set suggests that the true treatment effect was larger than estimated by the unadjusted analysis. Stroke clinical trials should include prospective risk adjustment methodologies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk