Retrospective studies – utility and caveats

A thorough understanding of the pros and cons of the various study designs is critical to correct interpretation of their results. Retrospective studies are an important tool to study rare diseases, manifestations and outcomes. Findings of these studies can form the basis on which prospective studies are planned. Retrospective studies however have several limitations owing to their design. Since they depend on review of charts that were originally not designed to collect data for research, some information is bound to be missing.