This section should be organized in a meaningful way based on the review objectives and questions and types of interventions, comparators, outcomes and types of studies. This section should provide comprehensive information regarding the results of all performed meta-analyses and additional analyses such as sensitivity analysis and sub-group analysis. Point estimates and interval estimates (confidence intervals) should be reported. Before presenting any meta-analysis results, the conduct of meta-analyses should be justified; reviewers should explicitly provide commentaries regarding the clinical, methodological, and statistical heterogeneity of the studies included in meta-analyses and the appropriateness of conducting meta-analyses. Summary results from meta-analyses should be reported as summary point estimates and interval estimates. The meta-analysis forest plots for all performed meta-analyses should be presented in this section. A narrative summary should complement the forest plots and provide additional commentaries and explanations for all performed meta-analyses (Munn et al 2014).
Reviewers should report the funnel plot for publication bias if such assessment was appropriate and performed. Reviewers should include the results of assessment of risk of publication bias, including the results of statistical tests for publication bias, if such tests were used.
Even if meta-analysis is performed, a narrative summary should be included to supplement the technical details provided on the process and results of meta-analysis and to provide synthesis of data not captured in statistical meta-analysis.
If meta-analysis is not performed, a narrative summary should be included. The narrative summary should provide an overall summary of the findings of the included studies and their biases, strengths and limitations. The essence of narrative summary is that the results are summarized in words and in tables without any statistical meta-analysis. Textual commentaries and tables are used in order to summarize the results from the included studies and to provide context information for these results, thus facilitating understanding of the summarized results.