All clinicians face the challenge of practicing evidence-based medicine and are confronted with data from a variety of studies, ranging from prospective randomized and registry studies to retrospective analyses. Unfortunately, the data frequently provide conflicting recommendations. How then should one interpret the information so that study findings can be applied directly in patient care? To evaluate the relevance of the abundance of studies published and how they apply to an individual patient, physicians must understand subtle nuances of study design and their effect on the interpretation of the results. In this Review, we examine the strengths and weaknesses of different study designs with the aim of providing the reader with a greater understanding how best to apply study results in the clinical setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine