A Bayesian framework to account for uncertainty due to missing binary outcome data in pairwise meta-analysis

N. L. Turner, S. Dias, A. E. Ades, N. J. Welton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Missing outcome data are a common threat to the validity of the results from randomised controlled trials (RCTs), which, if not analysed appropriately, can lead to misleading treatment effect estimates. Studies with missing outcome data also threaten the validity of any meta-analysis that includes them. A conceptually simple Bayesian framework is proposed, to account for uncertainty due to missing binary outcome data in meta-analysis. A pattern-mixture model is fitted, which allows the incorporation of prior information on a parameter describing the missingness mechanism. We describe several alternative parameterisations, with the simplest being a prior on the probability of an event in the missing individuals. We describe a series of structural assumptions that can be made concerning the missingness parameters. We use some artificial data scenarios to demonstrate the ability of the model to produce a bias-adjusted estimate of treatment effect that accounts for uncertainty. A meta-analysis of haloperidol versus placebo for schizophrenia is used to illustrate the model. We end with a discussion of elicitation of priors, issues with poor reporting and potential extensions of the framework. Our framework allows one to make the best use of evidence produced from RCTs with missing outcome data in a meta-analysis, accounts for any uncertainty induced by missing data and fits easily into a wider evidence synthesis framework for medical decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2062-2080
Number of pages19
JournalStatistics in Medicine
Volume34
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2015

Keywords

  • Bayesian
  • Bias
  • Decision making
  • Meta-analysis
  • Missing data
  • Pattern-mixture model

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  • Projects

    ConDuCT-II

    Blazeby, J. M.

    1/04/1431/03/19

    Project: Research

    MRC METHODOLOGY RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP

    Welton, N. J.

    4/05/094/11/13

    Project: Research

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