A systematic analysis of controlled clinical trials using the NiTi CAR™ compression ring in colorectal anastomoses
BACKGROUND The number of individual patient data meta-analyses published is very low especially in surgical domains. Our aim was to assess the feasibility of individual patient data (IPD) meta-analyses in orthopaedic surgery by determining whether trialists agree to send IPD for eligible trials. METHODS We performed a literature search to identify relevant research questions in orthopaedic surgery. For each question, we developed a protocol synopsis for an IPD meta-analysis and identified all related randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with results published since 2000. Corresponding authors of these RCTs were sent personalized emails that presented a project for an IPD meta-analysis corresponding to one of the research questions, with a link to the protocol synopsis, and asking for IPD from their RCT. We guaranteed patient confidentiality and secure data storage, and offered co-authorship and coverage of costs related to extraction. RESULTS We identified 38 research questions and 273 RCTs related to these questions. We could contact 217 of the 273 corresponding authors (79 %; 56 had unavailable or non-functional email addresses) and received 68/273 responses (25 %): 21 authors refused to share IPD, 10 stated that our request was under consideration and 37 agreed to send IPD. Four corresponding authors required authorship and three others asked for financial support to send the IPD. Overall, we could obtain IPD for 5,110 of 33,602 eligible patients (15 %). Among the 38 research questions, only one IPD meta-analysis could be potentially initiated because we could receive IPD for more than 50 % of participants. CONCLUSION The present study illustrates the difficulties in initiating IPD meta-analyses in orthopaedic surgery. Significant efforts must be made to improve data sharing.