The use of time-related methods of statistical analysis is essential for valid evaluation of the long-term results of a surgical procedure. Accurate comparison of two procedures or two prosthetic devices is possible only when the length of follow-up is properly accounted for. The purpose of this report is to make the technical aspects of the actuarial, or life table, method easily accessible to the surgeon, with emphasis on the motivation for and the rationale behind it. This topic is illustrated in terms of heart valve prostheses, a field that is rapidly developing. Both the authors and readers of articles must be aware that controversies surrounding the relative merits of various prosthetic designs or operative procedures can be settled only if proper time-related methods of analysis are utilized.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine