Korean J Anesthesiol.  2021 Oct;74(5):371-382. 10.4097/kja.21358.

Concepts and emerging issues of network meta-analysis

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Most diseases have more than two interventions or treatment methods, and the application of network meta-analysis (NMA) studies to compare and evaluate the superiority of each intervention or treatment method is increasing. Understanding the concepts and processes of systematic reviews and meta-analyses is essential to understanding NMA. As with systematic reviews and meta-analyses, NMA involves specifying the topic, searching for and selecting all related studies, and extracting data from the selected studies. To evaluate the effects of each treatment, NMA compares and analyzes three or more interventions or treatment methods using both direct and indirect evidence. There is a possibility of several biases when performing NMA. Therefore, key assumptions like similarity, transitivity, and consistency should be satisfied when performing NMA. Among these key assumptions, consistency can be evaluated and quantified by statistical tests. This review aims to introduce the concepts of NMA, analysis methods, and interpretation and presentation of the results of NMA. It also briefly introduces the emerging issues in NMA, including methods for evaluation of consistency.


Bayesian approach; Meta-analysis; Mixed treatment meta-analysis; Multiple treatment comparison meta-analysis; Network meta-analysis; Statistics; Systematic review

Cited by  1 articles

Use, application, and interpretation of systematic reviews and meta-analyses
Hyun Kang
Korean J Anesthesiol. 2021;74(5):369-370.    doi: 10.4097/kja.21374.

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