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World J Surg. 2005 May;29(5):567-9.

How to appraise a prognostic study.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, 119074 Singapore. medkm@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

Prognostic studies are studies that examine selected predictive variables or risk factors and assess their influence on the outcome of a disease. They allow clinicians to understand better the natural history of a disease, guide clinical decision-making by facilitating the selection of appropriate treatment options, and allow more accurate prediction of disease outcomes. Appraising prognostic studies involves determining the internal validity of the study design and evaluating the influence of systemic errors or bias. In studies examining multiple prognostic variables, care must be taken to minimize the confounding influence each variable would have on the other parameters. Evaluating the results of appropriate statistical analysis enables conclusions to be made that may influence clinical practice. Care must be taken to ensure that the conditions under which the prognostic study were conducted resemble circumstances in the local institution so as to allow the conclusions to be applied to local practices.

PMID:
15830117
DOI:
10.1007/s00268-005-7914-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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