Randomized Controlled Trials in Pediatric Cardiology: A Power Struggle?

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DOI: 10.1007/s00246-022-03039-z


Sample size and statistical power are often limited in pediatric cardiology studies due to the relative infrequency of specific congenital malformations of the heart and specific circulatory physiologies. The primary aim of this study was to determine what proportion of pediatric cardiology randomized controlled trials achieve an 80% statistical power. Secondary aims included characterizing reporting habits in these studies. A systematic review was performed to identify pertinent pediatric cardiology randomized controlled trials. The following data were collected: publication year, journal, if "power" or "sample size" were mentioned if a discrete, primary endpoint was identified. Power analyses were conducted to assess if the sample size was adequate to demonstrate results at 80% power with a p-value of less than 0.05. A total of 83 pediatric cardiology randomized controlled trials were included. Of these studies, 48% mentioned "power" or "sample size" in the methods, 49% mentioned either in the results, 12% mentioned either in the discussion, and 66% mentioned either at any point in the manuscript. 63% defined a discrete, primary endpoint. 38 studies (45%) had an adequate sample size to demonstrate differences with 80% power at a p-value of less than 0.05. A majority of these are not powered to reach the conventionally accepted 80% power target. Adequately powered studies were found to be more likely to report "power" or "sample size" and have a discrete, primary endpoint.

Journal Title

Pediatric cardiology





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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Child; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Cardiology; Sample Size


Biostatistics; Pediatric cardiology; Randomized controlled trials; Sample size; Statistical power

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