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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard DoddsORCiD
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are increasingly common. This article aims to provide guidance for people conducting systematic reviews relevant to the healthcare of older people. An awareness of these issues will also help people reading systematic reviews to determine whether the results will influence their clinical practice. It is essential that systematic reviews are performed by a team which includes the required technical and clinical expertise. Those performing reviews for the first time should ensure they have appropriate training and support. They must be planned and performed in a transparent and methodologically robust way: guidelines are available. The protocol should be written-and if possible published-before starting the review. Geriatricians will be interested in a table of baseline characteristics, which will help to determine if the studied samples or populations are similar to their patients. Reviews of studies of older people should consider how they will manage issues such as different age cut-offs; non-specific presentations; multiple predictors and outcomes; potential biases and confounders. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses may provide evidence to improve older people's care, or determine where new evidence is required. Newer methodologies, such as meta-analyses of individual level data, network meta-analyses and umbrella reviews, and realist synthesis, may improve the reliability and clinical utility of systematic reviews.
Author(s): Shenkin SD, Harrison JK, Wilkinson T, Dodds RM, Ioannidis JPA
Publication type: Review
Publication status: Published
Journal: Age and Ageing
Online publication date: 24/06/2017
Acceptance date: 13/06/2017
ISSN (print): 0002-0729
ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834
Publisher: Oxford University Press