Journal article

Meta-analysis of incidence rate data in the presence of zero events

Matthew J Spittal, Jane Pirkis, Lyle C Gurrin

BMC MEDICAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY | BMC | Published : 2015

Abstract

BACKGROUND: When summary results from studies of counts of events in time contain zeros, the study-specific incidence rate ratio (IRR) and its standard error cannot be calculated because the log of zero is undefined. This poses problems for the widely used inverse-variance method that weights the study-specific IRRs to generate a pooled estimate. METHODS: We conducted a simulation study to compare the inverse-variance method of conducting a meta-analysis (with and without the continuity correction) with alternative methods based on either Poisson regression with fixed interventions effects or Poisson regression with random intervention effects. We manipulated the percentage of zeros in the i..

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