Network meta-analysis, a new statistical technique at urologists’ disposal to improve decision making

Vol. 44 (3): 422-428, May – June, 2018

doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2018.03.02


Herney Andres Garcia-Perdomo 1, 2
1 Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia, CO; 2 Urological Research Group, UROGIV, Cali, Colombia, CO


Systematic reviews have been determined to be fundamental tools for establishing the magnitude of an effect, with adequate rigor, methodology and scientific quality (1-4). A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis used in medical investigation, to synthesize information, and compare at least two interventions at a time, regarding an appropriate investigative question (4). Additionally, the available comparisons have to be made, in at least two studies, between intervention A and B otherwise, it is not possible to make it; nonetheless we lack of studies which make all the possible comparisons feasible nowadays (5).

Due to the lack of direct evidence, tools as network meta-analysis and indirect comparisons have been developed, considering all the available studies, and allowing comparisons regarding a common element, to estimate the effect of an intervention in an indirect way (6, 7). Network meta-analysis has also been called multiple-treatment comparison or mixed-treatment comparison meta-analysis (8). The aim of this review is to expose the introductory concepts of network meta-analyses, and indirect comparisons.

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