Evidence synthesis through a degradation model applied to myocardial infarction


We propose an evidence synthesis approach through a degradation model to estimate causal influences of physiological factors on myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary heart disease (CHD). For instance several studies give incidences of MI and CHD for different age strata, other studies give relative or absolute risks for strata of main risk factors of MI or CHD. Evidence synthesis of several studies allows incorporating these disparate pieces of information into a single model. For doing this we need to develop a sufficiently general dynamical model; we also need to estimate the distribution of explanatory factors in the population. We develop a degradation model for both MI and CHD using a Brownian motion with drift, and the drift is modeled as a function of indicators of obesity, lipid profile, inflammation and blood pressure. Conditionally on these factors the times to MI or CHD have inverse Gaussian (IG) distributions. The results we want to fit are generally not conditional on all the factors and thus we need marginal distributions of the time of occurrence of MI and CHD; this leads us to manipulate the inverse Gaussian normal distribution (IGN) (an IG whose drift parameter has a normal distribution). Another possible model arises if a factor modifies the threshold. This led us to define an extension of an IGN obtained when both drift and threshold parameters have normal distributions. We applied the model to results published in five important studies of MI and CHD and their risk factors. The fit of the model using the evidence synthesis approach was satisfactory and the effects of the four risk factors were highly significant.

Lifetime Data Analysis, 19(1):1-18