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Editor's Correspondence
Health Care Reform
March 14, 2011

Network Meta-analysis of Heart Failure Prevention by Antihypertensive Drugs—Reply

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Cardiology, Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine (Drs Sciarretta, Tocci, Palano, and Volpe), University of Rome ‘Sapienza,’ Sant’Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy; and Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Istituto Neuromed Polo Molisano, University of Rome ‘Sapienza,’ Pozzilli (IS), Italy (Dr Volpe).

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(5):472-473. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.58

In reply

We thank Nakao and colleagues for their letter. A selection bias in meta-analyses is mainly due to errors in the search strategy to screen the trials to be considered. These errors are related to an arbitrary selection of the trials or to the choice of factious search and eligibility criteria to select them. As a result, some studies are excluded from the analysis although they should be considered.

To avoid a selection bias, in our article1 we predefined and clearly reported the process for study selection, in keeping with the PRISMA check list. Our search keywords were generic and impartial and could not systematically exclude trials with specific characteristics. The meta-analysis by Verdecchia et al,2 which evaluated our same outcome (ie, heart failure [HF]), was only used as a control.