Incorporating delayed entry into the joint frailty model for recurrent events and a terminal event
Lifetime Data Analysis, 1–23 (2023)
In studies of recurrent events, joint modeling approaches are often needed to allow for potential dependent censoring by a terminal event such as death. Joint frailty models for recurrent events and death with an additional dependence parameter have been studied for cases in which individuals are observed from the start of the event processes. However, samples are often selected at a later time, which results in delayed entry so that only individuals who have not yet experienced the terminal event will be included. In joint frailty models such left truncation has effects on the frailty distribution that need to be accounted for in both the recurrence process and the terminal event process, if the two are associated. We demonstrate, in a comprehensive simulation study, the effects that not adjusting for late entry can have and derive the correctly adjusted marginal likelihood, which can be expressed as a ratio of two integrals over the frailty distribution. We extend the estimation method of Liu and Huang (Stat Med 27:2665–2683, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1002/sim.3077) to include potential left truncation. Numerical integration is performed by Gaussian quadrature, the baseline intensities are specified as piecewise constant functions, potential covariates are assumed to have multiplicative effects on the intensities. We apply the method to estimate age-specific intensities of recurrent urinary tract infections and mortality in an older population.
Keywords: event history analysis, statistical analysis