Table 2

Methods characteristics in Bayesian MTCs

Characteristicn/N (%)
Conducted traditional meta-analysis26/34 (76.5)
 Fixed effects1/34 (2.9)
 Random effects20/34 (58.8)
 Fixed and random effects7/34 (20.6)
 Not reported6/34 (17.6)
Adjustment for covariates9/34 (25.6)
Adjustment for multiple arms in MTCs including trials with three or more arms10/28 (35.7)
Model fit tested15/34 (44.1)
 Residual deviance6/15 (40.0)
 Deviance information criterion2/15 (13.3)
 Residual deviance and deviance information criterion3/15 (20.0)
 Q–Q plots1/15 (6.7)
 Mean sum deviation1/15 (6.7)
 Method not reported2/15 (13.3)
Code published7/34 (20.6)
 Online supplement5/7 (71.4)
 External website2/7 (28.6)
Aggregate study-level data published21/34 (61.8)
 Manuscript18/21 (85.7)
 Online supplement2/21 (9.5)
 External website1/21 (4.8)
Evaluation of convergence*12/34 (35.3)
 Gelman Rubin statistic7/12 (58.3)
 Kernel density plot1/12 (8.3)
 Visual plot inspection1/12 (8.3)
 Observation of chain mix2/12 (16.7)
 Method not reported2/12 (16.7)
 Use of non-informative15/34 (44.1)
 Use of informative priors3/34 (8.8)
 Not specified16/34 (47.1)
 Prior distribution of d reported11/34 (32.4)
 Prior distribution for σ reported10/34 (29.4)
 Sensitivity analysis based on priors4/34 (11.8)
Evaluation of heterogeneity in traditional meta-analysis*16/26 (61.5)
 I213/16 (81.3)
 Cochrane-Q statistic7/16 (43.8)
 PICO statement1/16 (6.3)
 Plot visualisation2/16 (12.5)
 L'Abbe plot1/16 (6.3)
Evaluation of heterogeneity in network meta-analysis*11/34 (32.4)
 Precision (τ2)6/11 (54.5)
 Between study SD5/11 (45.5)
 Heterogeneity p values1/11 (9.1)
Evaluation of inconsistency*24/34 (70.6)
 Comparison to traditional or prior meta-analysis†12/24 (50.0)
 Inconsistency/incoherence factors4/12 (33.3)
 Posterior mean residual deviance3/12 (25.0)
 Method not reported4/12 (33.3)
 Trial sequential analysis1/12 (8.3)
 Overall inconsistency (σ2w)1/12 (8.3)
  • *Studies that used multiple methods to test heterogeneity were counted multiple times, in the respective categories.

  • †Authors either compared results of the MTC with a traditional meta-analysis that they conducted concurrently or with a traditional meta-analysis that was previously published.

  • MTC, mixed treatment comparison; PICO, patient, intervention, comparator, outcome.