Transplant Trial Watch

Reporting and handling of missing participant data in systematic reviews of kidney transplant studies.

Budhiraja, P., et al.

Transplantation 2020 [record in progress].

The aim of this study was to investigate how missing participant data were handled and reported by systematic reviews of studies on kidney transplantation.

Two electronic databases including MEDLINE and Cochrane Library were searched. Two teams, each consisting of two reviewers, conducted study selection and data abstraction. The AMSTAR 2 was used to critically appraise the included systematic reviews.

83 systematic reviews were included in this study.

The outcomes of interest included primary outcomes and patient-important outcomes reported by the systematic reviews, reporting of missing participant data, handling and assessment of missing participant data, and analytic methods used to account for participants with missing data by the included systematic reviews.


CET Conclusions
The systematic review examined how well meta-analyses in kidney transplantation reported and handled missing patient data. Medline and the Cochrane Library were searched and identified 83 eligible studies (67 non-Cochrane reviews and 17 Cochrane reviews). Study selection, data extraction and critical appraisal of the included reviews were completed by independent reviewers. Critical appraisal according to AMSTAR showed that Cochrane reviews addressed far more items of the AMSTAR tool than non-Cochrane reviews. Most reviews (78%) did not report the number of participants with missing data and only 18% of studies (59% of Cochrane reviews and 8% of non-Cochrane reviews) reported the number of missing data at study level although not at outcome level. Eleven percent of the systematic reviews (41% of Cochrane and 3% of non-Cochrane studies) reported a method to handle missing participant data. Risk of bias regarding missing data was mostly reported at study level (67%) with only 12% of studies reporting the risk at the meta-analysis level. Overall, reporting of missing patient data in the systematic reviews was poor but Cochrane reviews compared the non-Cochrane reviews provided more complete descriptions of missing data and how these were handled.

Trial registration
PROSPERO - CRD42019114235

Funding source
No funding received