Study objective: The purpose of this paper is to give an overview and comparison of different easily applicable statistical techniques to analyse recurrent event data.
Setting: These techniques include naive techniques and longitudinal techniques such as Cox regression for recurrent events, generalised estimating equations (GEE), and random coefficient analysis. The different techniques are illustrated with a dataset from a randomised controlled trial regarding the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.
Main results: The use of different statistical techniques leads to different results and different conclusions regarding the effectiveness of the different intervention strategies.
Conclusions: If you are interested in a particular short term or long term result, simple naive techniques are appropriate. However, if the development of a particular outcome is of interest, statistical techniques that consider the recurrent events and additionally corrects for the dependency of the observations are necessary.
- recurrent events
- Cox regression
- GEE analysis
- random coefficient analysis
- multilevel analysis
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Conflicts of interest: none declared.
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