Users’ Guides to the Medical Literature: VII. How to Use a Clinical Decision Analysis B. What Are the Results and will they Help Me in Caring for My Patients?

W. Scott Richardson, Allan S. Detsky, Gordon Guyatt, Deborah Cook, Hertzel Gerstein, Robert Hayward, Anne Holbrook, Roman Jaeschke, Elizabeth Juniper, Mitchell Levine, David Naylor, Andrew Oxman, David Sackett, Sean Tunis, Stephen Walter, John Williams, Mark Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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YOU RECALL from the first of our two articles concerning clinical decision analysis1 that your patient is a middle-aged man with heart failure from an idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. You are trying to decide whether to recommend anticoagulation with warfarin to prevent systemic or pulmonary thromboembolism. Your literature search showed that no randomized clinical trials of warfarin for this use have been published. The search did discover a clinical decision analysis,2 and in the first article, we showed you how to evaluate its validity. In this article, we will show you how to interpret the results and generalizability of a clinical decision analysis(Table). As shown in the Figure, decision trees are displayed graphically, oriented from left to right, with the decision to be analyzed on the left, the compared strategies in the center, and the clinical outcomes on the right. The square box, termed a “decision node,” represents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1613
Number of pages4
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - May 24 1995
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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