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Stat Med. 2001 Aug 15;20(15):2243-60.

Meta-analysis of ordinal outcomes using individual patient data.

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Medical and Pharmaceutical Statistics Research Unit, The University of Reading, P.O. Box 240, Earley Gate, Reading RG6 6FN, U.K.


Meta-analyses are being undertaken in an increasing diversity of diseases and conditions, some of which involve outcomes measured on an ordered categorical scale. We consider methodology for undertaking a meta-analysis on individual patient data for an ordinal response. The approach is based on the proportional odds model, in which the treatment effect is represented by the log-odds ratio. A general framework is proposed for fixed and random effect models. Tests of the validity of the various assumptions made in the meta-analysis models, such as a global test of the assumption of proportional odds between treatments, are presented. The combination of studies with different definitions or numbers of response categories is discussed. The methods are illustrated on two data sets, in a classical framework using SAS and MLn and in a Bayesian framework using BUGS. The relative merits of the three software packages for such meta-analyses are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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