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A systematic review is performed in attempt to answer a specific research question by means of objective, unbiased evaluation of all pertinent available evidence. Component primary studies are selected on the basis of quality, and, if possible, their results are combined mathematically by using a process known as meta-analysis. While systematic review and meta-analysis are well-established methods to assess trials of therapeutic effects, they are increasingly more common in studies of diagnostic tests. In this article, the authors describe the benefits of a systematic approach over the traditional narrative review, illustrate the process, and examine some problems that are specific to systematic review and meta-analysis of diagnostic tests. They also explain how systematic review can help guide methodologic development for future research.

Original publication

DOI

10.1148/radiol.2431051823

Type

Journal article

Journal

Radiology

Publication Date

04/2007

Volume

243

Pages

13 - 27

Addresses

Department of Specialist Radiology, University College Hospital, Podium Level 2, 235 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BU, England. s.halligan@ucl.ac.uk

Keywords

Humans, Radiography, Evidence-Based Medicine, Review Literature as Topic, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic