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Terminology confused: how to name network meta-analysis?

Date and Location




Sunday 22 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Lun Li

Contact person

Kehu Yang
Abstract text
Background:Many synonymous names for network meta-analysis exist. Objectives:So we conducted this survey to find how they named a network meta-analysis and why. Methods: Published network meta-analyses were retrieved by searching databases (Pubmed, the Cochrane library, Embase, and ISI Web of Knowledge) and hand-searching other sources (Google engine, HTA websites, references lists). Two independent reviewers conducted search, select studies, abstracted data. Statistical analyses were conducted using SPSS version 15.0 for Windows. Results:104 network meta-analyses were included. In the titles, 65.38% (68 studies) used “network meta-analysis” (NMA), 20.19% (21 studies) used “mixed treatment comparisons” (MTC), 6.73% (7 studies) used “multiple-treatments meta-analysis” (MTM), and 7.69% (8 studies) used systematic review or meta-analysis. Of all these studies, 2.88% (3 studies) mentioned “indirect comparison” in their titles. Of those studies (n=39) that acknowledged that NMA, MTM and MTC are the same things, 58.97% (23 studies) used “network meta-analysis” (NMA), 23.08% (9 studies) used “mixed treatment comparisons” (MTC), 7.69% (3 studies) used “multiple-treatments meta-analysis” (MTM), and 10.26% (4 studies) used systematic review or meta-analysis. Conclusions:Although NMA, MTM and MTC were considered as the same things using different methods combining direct and indirect evidence, and NMA were the most used name, available studies about used different names. This might confuse NMA readers, so in the future consensus must be achieved regarding how to name NMA studies.