Meta-analysis is a technique for combining evidence from multiple trials. However, meta-analyses of studies with substantial heterogeneity among patients within trialsa??common in intensive carea?? can lead to incorrect conclusions if performed using aggregate data. Use of individual patient data (IPD) can avoid this concern, increase the power of a meta-analysis, and is useful for exploring subgroup effects. Barriers exist to IPD meta-analysis, most of which are overcome if clinical trials are designed to prospectively facilitate the incorporation of their results with other trials. We review the features of prospective IPD meta-analysis and identify those of relevance to intensive care research. We identify three clinical questions, which are the subject of recent or planned randomised controlled trials where IPD MA offers advantages over approaches using aggregate data.