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Why conduct systematic reviews?

The primary literature base available today is enormous, making it is difficult for clinicians and policy makers to read every piece of primary research on a particular topic. Different pieces of research can also offer different conclusions, which further complicates understanding the literature.

Systematic reviews are the next step in building the evidence base after primary research. A systematic review synthesises all of the available research on a particular question. If the research base is quantitative, a meta-analysis can also be conducted. A meta-analysis allows treatment effects from different studies to be combined, to determine whether a treatment truly has an advantageous effect.

Our Involvement in Systematic Reviews

We are currently conducting and collaborating on systematic reviews on the following topics:

Blood Systematic Review Initiative

CSM's Marialena Trivella and Sally Hopewell are involved in systematic reviews on blood transfusion and other haematology matters through an NIHR Cochrane grant for Blood and through the Systematic Review Initiative.

The Systematic Review Initiative is a clinical research group established in 2001 by NHS Blood and Transplant and funded through the four UK Blood Services. It aims to develop the evidence base for the practice of transfusion medicine. Marialena Trivella is the SRI's senior methodological and statistical adviser. 

Some of our in-progress systematic reviews and meta-analyses on haematology are:

  • Adverse effects of small volume red blood cell transfusions in the neonatal population
  • The age of blood
  • Alternative agents versus prophylactic platelet transfusion for preventing bleeding in patients with thrombocytopenia due to chronic bone marrow failure.
  • Red cell transfusion for the management of gastrointestinal haemorrhage

Improving systematic reviews

We also conduct applied statistics research into the design, conduct, and analysis of systematic reviews.