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Solving Statistics: Should I test for differences in baseline characteristics, for example in a randomised controlled study?

Should I test for differences in baseline characteristics, for example in a randomised controlled study?

Background

Researchers usually present the characteristics of the participants in each group at the start of a study in a table. This table is often the first table in a paper and, hence, called Table 1.  This table gives the reader an overview of the study participants and examines whether the participants are similar to patients he or she encounters. The reader can also use the information in the table to judge whether the participants in the two groups were comparable. Sometimes the two groups differ with respect to relevant demographic and clinical characteristics. Then it is important to correct for these differences in further analyses and take them into account when interpreting the results of the study.

Question

I am analyzing data from a small randomized controlled clinical trial with two arms. Should I test whether there are differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups and present the p-values in Table 1 of my manuscript? What do the results of these tests mean for further analysis that I carry out?

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