Purpose: Survival analysis is increasingly being used in perinatal epidemiology to assess time-varying risk factors for various pregnancy outcomes. Here we show how quantitative correction for exposure misclassification can be applied to a Cox regression model with a time-varying dichotomous exposure.
Methods: We evaluated influenza vaccination during pregnancy in relation to preterm birth among 2267 non-malformed infants whose mothers were interviewed as part of the Slone Birth Defects Study during 2006 through 2011. The hazard of preterm birth was modeled using a time-varying exposure Cox regression model with gestational age as the time-scale. The effect of exposure misclassification was then modeled using a probabilistic bias analysis that incorporated vaccination date assignment. The parameters for the bias analysis were derived from both internal and external validation data.
Results: Correction for misclassification of prenatal influenza vaccination resulted in an adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) slightly higher and less precise than the conventional analysis: Bias-corrected AHR 1.04 (95% simulation interval, 0.70-1.52); conventional AHR, 1.00 (95% confidence interval, 0.71-1.41).
Conclusions: Probabilistic bias analysis allows epidemiologists to assess quantitatively the possible confounder-adjusted effect of misclassification of a time-varying exposure, in contrast with a speculative approach to understanding information bias.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.