Overviews of clinical trials in the cardiovascular field have been critically reviewed. Six reasons for the overviews were identified. An impression, at least from a scientific viewpoint, is that the pooled analyses have been valuable. Six potential problems are discussed and recommendations given based on lessons learned. These include the avoidance of three types of biases--publication bias, overviewer bias and investigator bias. The role of time-dependent treatment effects, the complex issue of 'mixing of apples and oranges' and the problem of errors are also addressed.