Systematic review and meta-analysis

Med Intensiva (Engl Ed). 2018 Oct;42(7):444-453. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2017.10.003. Epub 2017 Nov 21.
[Article in English, Spanish]


In this review the usual methods applied in systematic reviews and meta-analyses are outlined. The ideal hypothesis for a systematic review should be generated by information not used later in meta-analyses. The selection of studies involves searching in web repertories, and more than one should be consulted. A manual search in the references of articles, editorials, reviews, etc. is mandatory. The selection of studies should be made by two investigators on an independent basis. Data collection on quality of the selected reports is needed, applying validated scales and including specific questions on the main biases which could have a negative impact upon the research question. Such collection also should be carried out by two researchers on an independent basis. The most common procedures for combining studies with binary outcomes are described (inverse of variance, Mantel-Haenszel, and Peto), illustrating how they can be done using Stata commands. Assessment of heterogeneity and publication bias is also illustrated with the same program.

Keywords: Heterogeneidad; Heterogeneity; Meta-analysis; Metaanálisis; Publication bias; Revisión sistemática; Sesgo de publicación; Systematic reviews.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Publication Bias
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic*