Meta-analyses on intra-aortic balloon pump in cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction may provide biased results

M C Acconcia, Q Caretta, F Romeo, M Borzi, M A Perrone, D Sergi, F Chiarotti, C M Calabrese, A Sili Scavalli, C Gaudio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is the device most commonly investigated in patients with cardiogenic shock (CS) complicating acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Recently meta-analyses on this topic showed opposite results: some complied with the actual guideline recommendations, while others did not, due to the presence of bias. We investigated the reasons for the discrepancy among meta-analyses and strategies employed to avoid the potential source of bias.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Scientific databases were searched for meta-analyses of IABP support in AMI complicated by CS. The presence of clinical diversity, methodological diversity and statistical heterogeneity were analyzed. When we found clinical or methodological diversity, we reanalyzed the data by comparing the patients selected for homogeneous groups. When the fixed effect model was employed despite the presence of statistical heterogeneity, the meta-analysis was repeated adopting the random effect model, with the same estimator used in the original meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Twelve meta-analysis were selected. Six meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were inconclusive because underpowered to detect the IABP effect. Five included RCTs and observational studies (Obs) and one only Obs. Some meta-analyses on RCTs and Obs had biased results due to presence of clinical and/or methodological diversity. The reanalysis of data reallocated for homogeneous groups was no more in contrast with guidelines recommendations.

CONCLUSIONS: Meta-analyses performed without controlling for clinical and/or methodological diversity, represent a confounding message against a good clinical practice. The reanalysis of data demonstrates the validity of the current guidelines recommendations in addressing clinical decision making in providing IABP support in AMI complicated by CS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2405-2414
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Cardiogenic shock


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