Journal article

Analysing clinical studies: Principles, practice and pitfalls of Kaplan-Meier plots

John Ludbrook, Alistair G Royse

ANZ JOURNAL OF SURGERY | WILEY | Published : 2008

Abstract

THE PROBLEM: The conventional method for estimating survival over time following an episode of disease or treatment is the Kaplan-Meier (K-M) technique, which results in a step-down survival plot, with upper and lower bounds of 1.0 and 0, respectively. The mirror image of this plot represents the cumulative incidence of an adverse event, such as death, with lower and upper bounds of 0 and 1.0, respectively. However, if there are two competing events that can occur during follow up, such as death or relapse, the K-M technique gives a false picture of the cumulative incidence of either one of these events. This occurs because patients who have died cannot subsequently relapse. THE SOLUTION: Wh..

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