Network meta-analysis for indirect treatment comparisons

Stat Med. 2002 Aug 30;21(16):2313-24. doi: 10.1002/sim.1201.


I present methods for assessing the relative effectiveness of two treatments when they have not been compared directly in a randomized trial but have each been compared to other treatments. These network meta-analysis techniques allow estimation of both heterogeneity in the effect of any given treatment and inconsistency ('incoherence') in the evidence from different pairs of treatments. A simple estimation procedure using linear mixed models is given and used in a meta-analysis of treatments for acute myocardial infarction.

MeSH terms

  • Angioplasty / standards
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / standards
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • reteplase
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator