Canadian Journal of Statistics

Multiple imputation methods for recurrent event data with missing event category

Journal Article


Frequently in clinical and epidemiologic studies, the event of interest is recurrent (i.e., can occur more than once per subject). When the events are not of the same type, an analysis which accounts for the fact that events fall into different categories will often be more informative. Often, however, although event times may always be known, information through which events are categorized may potentially be missing. Complete‐case methods (whose application may require, for example, that events be censored when their category cannot be determined) are valid only when event categories are missing completely at random. This assumption is rather restrictive. The authors propose two multiple imputation methods for analyzing multiple‐category recurrent event data under the proportional means/rates model. The use of a proper or improper imputation technique distinguishes the two approaches. Both methods lead to consistent estimation of regression parameters even when the missingness of event categories depends on covariates. The authors derive the asymptotic properties of the estimators and examine their behaviour in finite samples through simulation. They illustrate their approach using data from an international study on dialysis.

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