Go to content

Optimal full matching for survival outcomes: a method that merits more widespread use


Matching on the propensity score is a commonly used analytic method for estimating the effects of treatments on outcomes. Commonly used propensity score matching methods include nearest neighbor matching and nearest neighbor caliper matching. Rosenbaum (1991) proposed an optimal full matching approach, in which matched strata are formed consisting of either one treated subject and at least one control subject or one control subject and at least one treated subject. Full matching has been used rarely in the applied literature. Furthermore, its performance for use with survival outcomes has not been rigorously evaluated. We propose a method to use full matching to estimate the effect of treatment on the hazard of the occurrence of the outcome. An extensive set of Monte Carlo simulations were conducted to examine the performance of optimal full matching with survival analysis. Its performance was compared with that of nearest neighbor matching, nearest neighbor caliper matching, and inverse probability of treatment weighting using the propensity score. Full matching has superior performance compared with that of the two other matching algorithms and had comparable performance with that of inverse probability of treatment weighting using the propensity score. We illustrate the application of full matching with survival outcomes to estimate the effect of statin prescribing at hospital discharge on the hazard of post-discharge mortality in a large cohort of patients who were discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. Optimal full matching merits more widespread adoption in medical and epidemiological research.



Austin PC, Stuart EA. Stat Med. 2015; 34(30):3949-67. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

View Source

Contributing ICES Scientists

Research Programs

Associated Sites