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BMC Med Res Methodol. 2012; 12: 24.
Published online 2012 March 9. doi:  10.1186/1471-2288-12-24
PMCID: PMC3378447

Multiple imputation for estimating hazard ratios and predictive abilities in case-cohort surveys

Abstract

Background

The weighted estimators generally used for analyzing case-cohort studies are not fully efficient and naive estimates of the predictive ability of a model from case-cohort data depend on the subcohort size. However, case-cohort studies represent a special type of incomplete data, and methods for analyzing incomplete data should be appropriate, in particular multiple imputation (MI).

Methods

We performed simulations to validate the MI approach for estimating hazard ratios and the predictive ability of a model or of an additional variable in case-cohort surveys. As an illustration, we analyzed a case-cohort survey from the Three-City study to estimate the predictive ability of D-dimer plasma concentration on coronary heart disease (CHD) and on vascular dementia (VaD) risks.

Results

When the imputation model of the phase-2 variable was correctly specified, MI estimates of hazard ratios and predictive abilities were similar to those obtained with full data. When the imputation model was misspecified, MI could provide biased estimates of hazard ratios and predictive abilities. In the Three-City case-cohort study, elevated D-dimer levels increased the risk of VaD (hazard ratio for two consecutive tertiles = 1.69, 95%CI: 1.63-1.74). However, D-dimer levels did not improve the predictive ability of the model.

Conclusions

MI is a simple approach for analyzing case-cohort data and provides an easy evaluation of the predictive ability of a model or of an additional variable.


Articles from BMC Medical Research Methodology are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central