Survival analysis I: the Kaplan-Meier method

Nephron Clin Pract. 2011;119(1):c83-8. doi: 10.1159/000324758. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


The Kaplan-Meier (KM) method is used to analyze 'time-to-event' data. The outcome in KM analysis often includes all-cause mortality, but could also include other outcomes such as the occurrence of a cardiovascular event. The purpose of this article is to explain the basic concepts of the KM method, to provide some guidance regarding the presentation of the KM results and to discuss some important limitations of this method. To do this, we use a clinical example derived from the nephrology literature.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality*
  • Registries
  • Survival Analysis