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See the Forest (Plot) For The Trees

By Rena Gosser posted 05-12-2015 21:17


ASHP BCPS Recertification Module 1B Review

The clinical literature can be overwhelming at times.  A few clinical studies might tout the benefits of a medication, only to have several other trials contradict the initial trials’ results.  A meta-analysis is a useful way to look at sufficient detail of the trees (trials) to determine what clinical conclusion the forest plot (meta-analysis) provides.  Meta-analyses are becoming increasingly popular. It is important for pharmacists to understand how to interpret meta-analyses and not immediately accept the author’s conclusions.

This BCPS recertification module focused on cardiology and meta-analyses.  It was composed of two meta-analysis review articles, one meta-analysis, and one cardiology randomized controlled trial.  The meta-analysis was interesting, as it was conducted to challenge a national guideline recommendation and SCIP measure that is followed by hospitals across the country.  It was a well written meta-analysis that gave the added benefit of helping me stay current with the literature.  A definite bonus!

It was a little strange reviewing the cardiology RCT because it didn’t fit with the meta-analysis theme, but it was a good review of heart failure.  There were some questions related to the article that threw me off guard a bit.  It was a nice challenge to think critically outside of the given materials. 

Up next in June, moving from the heart to the lungs with a review of PE and pneumonia.  

Twitter: @renagosser

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