Population-based versus hospital-based controls: are they comparable?

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Objective: To compare whether there are differences among hospital and population controls. Methods: Two case-control studies were conducted on lung cancer risk factors in the Santiago de Compostela Public Health District. Whereas one used randomly chosen censusbased population controls, the other used consecutive hospital controls that went to the reference hospital for non-smoking-related trivial interventions. The differences were analyzed using logistic regression. The dependent variable was type of control (hospital or population). Results: Hospital controls had a similar tobacco habit than population controls, but consumed more alcohol. For those consuming more than 50 ml daily, the risk of being a hospital control was 4.83 (95%CI: 2.55-9.14). Conclusions: There may be some differences between hospital and population-based controls, which must be taken into account in the design of case-control studies. It is necessary to ascertain whether such differences are reproduced at other geographic locations and whether they can affect estimation of exposure-disease. © 2008 Sociedad Española de Salud Pública y Administración Sanitaria.




Ruano-Ravina, A., Pérez-Ríos, M., & Miguel Barros-Dios, J. (2008). Population-based versus hospital-based controls: are they comparable? Gaceta Sanitaria, 22(6), 609–613. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0213-9111(08)75363-9

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