Impact of weighted composite compared to traditional composite endpoints for the design of randomized controlled trials.
Composite endpoints are commonly used in cardiovascular clinical trials. When using a composite endpoint a subject is considered to have an event when the first component endpoint has occurred. The use of composite endpoints offers the ability to incorporate several clinically important endpoint events thereby augmenting the event rate and increasing statistical power for a given sample size. One assumption of the composite is that all component events are of equal clinical importance. This assumption is rarely achieved given the diversity of component endpoints included. One means of adjusting for this diversity is to adjust the outcomes using severity weights determined a priori. The use of a weighted endpoint also allows for the incorporation of multiple endpoints per patient. Although weighting the outcomes lowers the effective number of events, it offers additional information that reduces the variance of the estimate. We created a series of simulation studies to examine the effect on power as the individual components of a typical composite were changed. In one study, we noted that the weighted composite was able to offer discriminative power when the component outcomes were altered, while the traditional method was not. In the other study, we noted that the weighted composite offered a similar level of power to the traditional composite when the change was driven by the more severe endpoints.
Bakal, JA; Westerhout, CM; Armstrong, PW
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