Meta-analysis of small randomized controlled trials in surgery may be unreliable.
BACKGROUND: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) should provide reliable evidence about the effects of interventions. This may be less reliable when only small trials are available. METHODS: The sample size was determined for all surgical RCTs included in Cochrane Collaboration systematic reviews. The difficulty in interpreting meta-analysis of small trials is illustrated using two specific reviews. RESULTS: The typical sample size for surgical RCTs was small with a median of...Expand abstract
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