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Interpreting the Outcomes of Orthopaedic Trials

Jason W Busse, DC, PhD1,2


Orthopaedic trials can provide important direction for clinical decision-making, but their strength of inference may be weakened by methodological limitations and the extent to which their reported outcomes fail to address patient-important endpoints. This article discusses the challenges for clinicians reviewing the literature, including assessing the impact of loss to follow-up, judging the validity of subgroup analyses, determining whether the effect of treatment on surrogate endpoints translates into patient-important outcomes, interpreting composite endpoints, and remaining vigilant for evidence of publication bias. Adv Orthop 2011;2(4):141–7.

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